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5 things East L.A. tenants and landlords need to know about new rent control rules

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It’s official: A cap on rent hikes in East Los Angeles and other unincorporated portions of L.A. County will take hold starting next month.

Last week the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor finalized rules temporarily capping rent hikes to 3% annually on about 50,000 older apartments in East Los Angeles and other unincorporated areas.

It’s one of the first major steps as officials prepares to impose permanent rent controls and regulations across the county. It came a week after California voters shot down Proposition 10, which would have given local governments power to expand rent control.

But, the temporary ordinance doesn’t apply to all rental housing and will expire six months after it takes effect Dec. 20. Meanwhile, the board will seek a more permanent rent stabilization ordinance.

Here’s what you need to know.

1. Not all apartments, homes qualify

If you rent or own an apartment, duplex or triplex built before 1995 in unincorporated Los Angeles County chances are that your dwelling qualifies for rent control.

But it doesn’t apply to newer homes or single-family houses. That’s because the state’s Costa-Hawkins Act, which Proposition 10 sought to overturn, limits rent control to older dwellings. Supervisor Shelia Kuehl estimates about 200,000 renters countywide will be impacted by this new rule.

2. Rule goes into effect next month, but it’s retroactive 

The rule takes hold Dec. 20, but it applies retroactively, setting  Sept. 11, 2018 as the baseline for rent caps. If a landlord increases rent more than 3% after that date, the law provides that the tenant can be reimbursed.

3. Evictions are getting tougher

The new rules make it tougher for landlords to evict a tenant. Owners must now show “just cause,” such as a renter is not paying their rent or  violating the terms of the lease.

But if you are in the middle of an eviction, it’s best to seek help.

The county’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs Housing Rights Center has information available. Here’s a link to groups and firms that provide free or low-cost eviction defense services.

4. Landlords can jack up the rents for new tenants

Alas, rent control can’t be transferred. Once a renter leaves an apartment, the landlord can raise the price by any amount.

5. The Board of Supervisors isn’t done with rent control

The board voted 4 to 1 in favor of the rule. Supporting supervisors see it as key to lessening homelessness and easing the economic burden on elderly renters.  The supervisors will have the option of extending the temporary rent control rules as needed.  A permanent “rent stabilization” ordinance, as it is known, is expected to be drafted next year.

Need more info?

  • Call (833) 223-7368 (RENT)
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3 comments

  1. Oh goody! Let’s ensure that the quality and quantity of housing drops through the floor in the unincorporated parts of the county1

  2. Why in the world do people and politicians expect private citizens who have invested in older buildings to basically subsidize housing for tenants who don’t even have to pass any income qualification??! How about the politicians try instead to regulate the price of medicine, doctor fees, health insurance, the high salaries of public university presidents and football/basketball coaches? Instead they are messing with our retirement income. Yes, that’s why we bought our 5 units Like us, many of the owners of these older builders are seniors themselves with little other income. How to we pay for the mortgage for rental property, the property taxes, new roofs, repainting, new floors, upgrade windows, plumbing, electricityor HVAC etc? These costs continue to rise even though our rental income barely will. At the very least, if it want me to subsidize the tenant rents by not raising them enough to cover costs and make some income, THEN the government should lower my property taxes AND my income tax rate on rental income of the individual (not corporate.) Those pushing rent control should think more long term about how rent control makes it less likely that people like us will buy rental property to rent out. There will be even less housing because and I don’t see the government building many.

    • Exactly. Most of the older, smaller apartment buildings are owned by regular working folk like myself. I’m a teacher. My tenants make more money than I do, yet I subsidize them. I like my tenants and I’m a good landlord, but I’m afraid I’ll need to sell soon because maintenance and everything else has gone up exponentially, yet I can only raise rent by three percent. My tenants have been in my triplex for over 15 years. They are paying way below market now and I’ll never catch up, yet large corporations buying, renovating, renting these larger apartments are doubling the rent and they could care a less about their tenants. They have no connection to the neighborhood whatsoever unlike many of us mom and pop owners. These strict rental rules will inevitably backfire. It’s a shame. If we were allowed to keep up, even 5 or 7 percent, I wouldn’t be thinking of letting my dear place go, but I just won’t be able to keep up soon. There’s very little written about this in the news. Not all landlords are rich and most of us are mom and pop owners that own the older, smaller buildings, but most of the massive apartments have no rent control. My insurance goes up drastically every year, but I’m forced with a 3 percent limit. I am not opposed to rent control, but 3 percent is just to little to keep up. I’m out soon. Done. Let some huge corporation buy it with absolutely no moral compass. So sad.

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