Los Angeles County Moves Forward with Rent Regulations

Los Angeles County Seal
Los Angeles County Seal

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Board of Supervisors tentatively voted today in favor of two permanent rent stabilization ordinances expected to take effect April 1 in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

The vote on the ordinances, which cover both rental properties and land leases in mobile home parks, was 4-1, with Supervisor Kathryn Barger dissenting.

Under the rental ordinance, rent increases for non-luxury units will be limited to the annual change in the Consumer Price Index, with a maximum of 8%. Properties exempt from the caps on rent include units built after 1995, condominiums, single-family homes and public housing. The rental ordinance also prohibits evictions without just cause.

The mobile home ordinance limits increase on space rentals to 75% of the CPI with an 8% maximum.

Jessa Orluk, a housing program manager at the Liberty Hill Foundation, said the ordinance provides “comprehensive tenant protection … for thousands of tenants across L.A.”

Landlords countered that the regulations would stifle housing supply.
  
Some opponents seemed resigned to regulations limiting rent increases and focused instead on specific aspects of the ordinance.

Laura Olhasso of the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors, who said she represents 7,000 Realtors in the Fifth District, called the ordinance “fairly appalling.” Olhasso argued that the ordinance’s limit on passing through only 50% of the cost of property improvements to tenants would mean “apartment owners will simply not have enough cash” to keep rental units in good condition.
  
Tenant advocates said they were already seeing a surge of eviction notices and urged the board to add a similar requirement to the temporary rent ordinance, which was extended through March 31. Otherwise, they warned, landlords would have from now until April 1 to push tenants out.

Landlords argued that such assistance would be prohibitively expensive, especially when paired with a requirement to hire a “relocation specialist” approved by the county.

One other ask from landlords was that they are allowed to pass-through the cost of any new voter-approved taxes or bond issues to tenants.
  
A series of public meetings were held from May to September before the ordinance was drafted. Both permanent ordinances — for rental units and mobile home parks — will come back to the board for another vote before they are adopted. Board documents anticipate that vote next Tuesday.
  
Tenants or landlords seeking more information can find it by calling 833-223-RENT (7368), emailing [email protected] or at http://rent.lacounty.gov.

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