Failure to Extend Rent Protections in Los Angeles County

Rent cap and eviction protection are extended despite a tie vote by the supervisors.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors opposed extending rent safeguards for another year and extending the provisions to unincorporated regions of the 4,083-square-mile county, an area larger than Rhode Island. The vote was tied at 2-2 with one abstention.

Resolutions to limit rent increases to 3% or the change in the Consumer Price Index over the previous year, whichever is less, were among several that fell short of a majority. According to a story in the Los Angeles Daily News, the measures would have also prolonged residential renter rights for one year throughout the county and its 88 communities.

Protecting tenants from eviction who have taken in extra occupants—including pets—during the pandemic and prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants without a reason were among the rights that were not extended.

The Board of Supervisors was encouraged by tenant and renters’ rights organizations to extend the pandemic-era rent safeguards because they think a wave of evictions is on the way that will peak when the county formally ends the COVID-19 emergency on March 31.

The tenant safeguards would have added further difficulties to landlords who are already dealing with growing prices, according to a group of roughly 20 self-described mom-and-pop landlords and numerous trade organizations that represent apartment owners.

According to the newspaper report, Fred Sutton, vice president of public affairs for the California Apartment Association, told the board that “cities can make these decisions on their own.”

Supervisor Janice Hahn, who voted against the rent protection extensions, claimed that she would have voted in favor of them a year ago, but that now that the pandemic is over and unemployment is low, Los Angeles County no longer needs “emergency regulations” and “restrictions” shouldn’t be placed on landlords in unincorporated areas.

According to Hahn, the county would provide assistance to unincorporated cities in developing their own local rent rules. The board adopted a resolution ordering the county director of consumer affairs to be available to assist localities in developing rent regulations after rejecting the renter protection extensions.

Co-author of the resolution extending renter rights, Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, made the case that the protections are crucial for reducing homelessness.

According to the newspaper story, Horvath said that a state of emergency had been established regarding homelessness. Helping those folks afford the homes they are in is the most crucial thing we can do to stop the flood of homelessness.

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