The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to approve a motion limiting rent increases on rent-stabilized units at 4 percent, or up to 6 percent if landlords cover gas and electric costs starting February 1. Tuesday’s motion, introduced by Hugo Soto-Martinez, was prompted by a January 31, 2024 deadline in which the Covid-era rent freeze was due to expire.
City council voted 10-2 to move forward on the proposal, which was meant to limit rent hikes for properties under the city’s rent control law.
Over 600,000 apartments in L.A. are covered by the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, which includes buildings built before October 1978. The older buildings make up almost three-quarters of the city’s apartments. Newer buildings are under state law, which currently allows rent increases in Los Angeles and Orange Counties of up to 8.8 percent a year.
The proposed rent hikes would be calculated using a formula outlined in the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, using the consumer price index from October 2022 to September 2023 instead of from October 2021 to September 2022.
“That’s why I put that forward in committee because it didn’t change the formula. It merely changed the window that we look at that formula to make it the most updated window,” Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said.
Blumenfield also said housing advocates, tenants, and landlords are not happy with the proposal, which he says demonstrates the “Compromise probably makes sense because both sides hate it.”
The vote came after debate between council members and pleas from tenants to keep the pandemic-era ban on rent hikes as well as pressure from landlords to end the rent freeze to allow increased maintenance costs to be passed on to tenants.
“We’ve already asked an awful lot of our mom-and-pop landlords, and I just can’t imagine how much more we’re going to continue to expect them to give,” said Traci Park, who represents the Westside’s 11th Council District.
Since March 2020, most rent hikes have been banned in the city’s units covered by the stabilization law. If the city council hadn’t taken action, landlords with rent-controlled units could have been able to increase rents by 7 to 9 percent.
The motion requests the City Attorney and Los Angeles Housing Department to draft an ordinance to temporarily set the rent increase beginning February 1, 2024, through June 30, 2024.
It also instructs the Los Angeles Housing Department to consult with the United to House L.A. Citizens Oversight Committee to develop programs to assist rent-burdened tenants, as well as for small housing providers with building maintenance, rental debt, and/or preservation of rent-stabilized units.
The council also amended its proposal to include a report back to establish a rule or policy that would help distinguish mom-and-pop landlords from corporate landlords in an attempt to ensure small landlords can receive city resources.
According to the Los Angeles City Controller, the Los Angeles Housing Department received a total of 66,007 eviction notices, with 6.215 of those being filed in the month of October. 96 percent of those eviction notices were for non-payment of rent. March and April had the highest number of notices with just over 10,000 being filed each month.
The data reveals that from February to October, LAHD has received a total of 66,007 eviction notices. The city with the highest eviction filings was Hollywood which received 4,445 followed by Fairfax with 3,179 filings.
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