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Largest Owner of Single-Family Homes in Nation Settles California Lawsuit for Raising Rents

Largest Owner of Single-Family Homes in Nation Settles California Lawsuit for Raising Rents

A "For Lease" sign is posted outside a house available for rent in Los Angeles on March 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

1/10/2024

Updated: 1/16/2024

The largest operator of single-family homes in the nation will now reimburse some California tenants after raising their rents above California limits, in a settlement reached with the state’s attorney general.
“Californians are facing a housing crisis of epic proportion. California has laws in place to protect tenants from sudden, large rent increases, and landlords need to be diligent in ensuring that they abide by those laws,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta in a Jan. 8 press release announcing the settlement.
He said the recent settlement should remind California landlords “to familiarize themselves with the law” and the “protections” in the state for tenants.
An estimated 1,900 tenants had their rent illegally raised above California limits by Invitation Homes, which owns and manages more than 80,000 units nationwide and 12,000 in California.
In an investigation by California’s Department of Justice, the agency found that some of the increases Invitation Homes imposed on tenants between 2019 and 2022 were out of compliance with California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which among other things restricted rent increases by no more than five percent plus inflation or 10 percent total, whichever is less.
Also, California’s price-gouging law, prohibits landlords from increasing rents by more than 10 percent during or after a state or local emergency, such as COVID-19.
The tenants will now be reimbursed, after the leasing giant agreed to pay $2 million in civil fines and another $1.7 million in refunds for the excess rent charged, plus five percent interest.
Under the settlement, Invitation Homes must lower rents for those affected to match California’s limits, conduct audits every quarter on processes and systems used for rent increases, and report back to the Department of Justice every year for five years on its progress in complying with California’s laws, according to Mr. Bonta’s office.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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