The Los Angeles City Council heard a series of motions introduced by Councilmember Huizar to protect renters, including an ordinance proposal to outlaw landlord harassment, track the City’s affordable housing stock, create automatic Council office notifications when Ellis Act proceedings begin, and inform renters about their rent-control rights.
The Los Angeles City Council approved moving forward with a motion proposed by Councilmember Huizar aimed at protecting Los Angeles’ renters from harassing landlords and property owners.
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, the City Council approved four other motions by Huizar to create a running publicly available tally of the City’s affordable housing stock, require more substantive information be given to renters in rent-controlled units at the time of signing their lease agreements, create a plan to monitor and expand the City’s affordable housing covenants, and implement Ellis Act notification to the local City Council Office when those proceedings are initiated, which property owners can use, per state law, to take rent-controlled unit off the market.
“Any action that we can take to increase both the City and the public’s awareness on affordable housing, Ellis Act proceedings and the rights of renters and the obligations of property owners, the better we all will be in preparing a line of defense in protecting our city’s precious affordable housing,” said Councilmember Huizar. “The legislation that we have introduced this week will lead to concrete reforms that will help us protect the homes of our fellow Angelenos.”
For the anti-harassment legislation, the Council gave direction to the City’s Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), to come back with a study on creating an ordinance to protect renters from landlord harassment, similar to anti-harassment ordinances in San Francisco, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. Housing advocates report that some unscrupulous landlords harass tenants to encourage them to “voluntarily” move-out by taking away services, such as parking or utilities, refusing to do repair work required by law, or using falsehoods and intimidation intended to make a tenant move out.
Another Huizar motion would require landlords to notify renters of their Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), aka rent-control rights, at lease signing. Among other things, Huizar’s motion will require property owners and managers to inform tenants of the maximum possible amount of relocation assistance the renter is entitled to for a no-fault eviction.
A third Huizar motion is an action to notify respective Council offices when Ellis Act proceedings begin. Currently, there is no formal noticing practice between HCIDLA and the relevant Council office.
Another motion directing HCID and the Department of City Planning to track the cumulative net gain and loss of affordable housing units (i.e. covenanted units and RSO units) and post that information online will be reheard at Friday’s Council meeting, due to a clerical error and the need for public comment. The Huizar motion calls for the affordable housing data to also include quarterly and annual reports. Under the City’s RSO, 630,000 units are stabilized with limits on rent increases and other protections for tenants.
And a fifth motion by Councilmember Huizar asks Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department to report on strategies and funding needs for protecting existing affordable housing covenants and at-risk affordable housing covenants which may expire soon.
In Council District 14’s Boyle Heights, which is home to 75% renters, with more than 88% of those under RSO protections, Huizar worked with local non-profit organizations to launch a Know Your Rights Campaign. The campaign is focused on a door-to-door outreach campaign to engage RSO renters and ensure they know their rights.