Rent freeze in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County

Tenant advocates got a win in their column September 11 when in a 4 to 1 vote, Los Angeles County supervisors restricted landlords in unincorporated communities from raising rents for more than 3 percent per year. The ordinance also establishes "just cause" eviction protections, meaning tenants can only be evicted for non-payment of rent and other lease violations. 

More than 65 percent of the county consists of unincorporated communities. Some examples include East LA, Marina Del Rey, View Park/Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, Lennox, and Willowbrook. View a map that outlines unincorporated areas.

This was a temporary measure and will be voted on again in November before taking effect. If approved, it will take effect 30 days later and freeze rents at the September 11 rates for six months.

The lone dissenter was Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who said she would vote in favor of the ordinance if the board embraced her amendment to allow landlords to “bank” annual allowable rent increases, a practice whereby landlords who don't increase rents by the maximum allowed amount one year can make up the difference the following year. She also lobbied for greater leeway to evict tenants during the first two years of their lease, to no avail. 

Janet Gagnon, director of government relations for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, didn't couch her words by calling the rent freeze a "lethal injection" for mom and pop property owners, even likening supervisors to Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Although proponents of expanded rent control claim large corporations are scooping up properties and spiking rents and don't care about the wellbeing of tenants, it's small landlords that say rent caps would stretch their already thin profits. 

Many owners would agree that rents are high, but so, too, are the taxes, insurance, utilities and other expenses that are steadily going up. MT Evictions has always maintained rent control is a bad economic policy by creating disincentives to new construction, results in the deterioration of existing units, and does nothing to produce sorely needed housing. 

As always, you can count on MT Evictions for timely updates for this and other developments that impact landlords throughout Southern California.




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