Newest Renter Protections in LA are Challenged by Landlords

In response to the recent approval of a set of eviction and rent safeguards for renters around the city, multifamily landlords in Los Angeles are taking legal action.

The Greater Los Angeles Apartment Association (AAGLA) filed a lawsuit against the city to overturn and prohibit the execution of the new ordinances that make it more difficult to remove tenants as well as penalize landlords for raising rent.

One of the ordinances in dispute demands that at least one month’s worth of rent be unpaid before starting the eviction process. The other requires landlords to cover relocation costs if a tenant is displaced as a result of a rent increase of at least 10% or by 5% above the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. That entails paying $1,411 in moving expenses in addition to three times the unit’s fair market rent.

The office of City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto stated that it is reviewing the case but would not provide any further information.

Cheryl Turner, head of the AAGLA board of directors, declared that the new ordinances are “clearly illegal” under the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 28-year-old statute that exempts some properties from rent-control regulations.

Rental units like newer construction, single-family homes, and condominiums are exempt from price controls like rent stabilization ordinances, but [the city’s new ordinance] potentially imposes severe financial penalties on any owner that increases rent above specified limits on a rental unit that is exempt from rent control, should the renter then decide to move, Turner said in a statement.

The policy, according to Turner, flies in the face of state law, which enables owners to issue three-day notices and commence legal processes, as it needs a minimum amount of past-due rent to trigger evictions.

Renters may now continue to live in their homes in violation of their lease agreements without facing consequences because owners may now have to wait months or even years to collect past-due rent, according to Turner. According to the city’s ordinance, renters, not property owners, can now effectively determine the amount of rent they desire to pay.

Unscrupulous tenants can simply stretch out legally owed rent payments for months or even years by “short-paying” rent in increments of $50, $100, or more per month, according to Daniel Yukelson, executive director of AAGLA, and rental property owners will be left with little to no remedy.

To make matters worse, there are very few remedies under state law to collect the aged, compounded rental obligation after any amount of delinquent rent is past due for more than 12 months, Yukelson added.

The SVN Vanguard team knows investors need an experienced commercial property management company by their side. Contact us for multifamily properties for sale/lease.


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