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Newsflash: Beverly Hills City Council followed up on the October 18th urgency ordinance that prohibited no-just-cause terminations with a succeeding pair of final ordinances that amended the municipal code to make it official. However as part of that policy, Council identified a new reason for which a landlord can terminate a tenancy and created a new process by which terminations can be adjudicated in City Hall (as opposed to superior court).
Under the new policy, a tenant can be evicted for-cause after repeated instances of ‘disruptive’ behavior (such as disturbing the neighbor’s quiet enjoyment or displays of antagonism, intimidation or bullying). The landlord can now bring forward an application for termination without going to court should the disruptive behavior continue after the tenant is formally notified.
We have serious questions about the practical application of this lower standard for eviction (without fees) and how the new process will coexist with the landlord’s continued access to the courts as an alternative. To the credit of our councilmembers, there was a detailed discussion about the implications. Nevertheless the proposed policy and new termination process was formally adopted and will now be part of the rent stabilization ordinance in addition to any changes made by Council after the next rent stabilization study session on November 20th. Stay tuned for more detail on the new policy and the upcoming study session.

Proposition 10 Defeat: A Setback for Rent Control

There’s no way to sugarcoat the voters’ rejection of Proposition 10: it was a shellacking and a thumping that has set the cause of rent control in California back decades. And it has emboldened already-empowered property interests to push back on any legislative effort to repeal or amend Costa-Hawkins (which limits how every locality regulates rents in California). No matter that voters — and even the tenants it could benefit — may have not understood the measure. The voters have spoken. Read More Proposition 10 Defeat: A Setback for Rent Control

It is Totally OK to Post Your Own Yes-on-10 Sign

It is that time of year! Our election ballot is loaded with propositions and the No-on–10 campaign is sowing a small crop of political signs across lawns in town. (That’s what $75M in landlord money buys.) What’s a tenant to do? Plant a Yes-on–10 sign, right? But there is no Yes-on-10 sign available. So we must fashion them from the opponents’ signs as one self-starter on Reeves has done. But…is it lawful for a tenant to post a lawn sign on the landlord’s lawn? Yes it is! Read More It is Totally OK to Post Your Own Yes-on-10 Sign

City Council RSO Study Session #1 [recap]

City Council held the first scheduled rent stabilization study session last Thursday. This latest step in the 18-month process to reform the ordinance is a sign that the endgame is near. In this first study session, our councilmembers suggested what a final rent stabilization ordinance might look like. However they continue to discuss both the key issues and the process itself. Here’s our recap as we look ahead to the second study session on October 18th. Read More City Council RSO Study Session #1 [recap]

Multifamily Residents Said NO to ‘No Parking Any Time’ on Canon Drive

Multifamily residents from Reeves to Crescent recently received a mailed notice that the Traffic & Parking Commission would consider modifying the preferential parking permit zones on the 200 and 300 blocks of Canon Drive. These blocks are in the ‘Q’ zone, which is shared with multifamily households on Reeves, Canon, Crescent and Elm. We said NO to the petition and the commissioners supported us. No change to Canon parking! Read More Multifamily Residents Said NO to ‘No Parking Any Time’ on Canon Drive

How the Deck is Stacked Against Tenants

One of the more frustrating aspects pro-tenant work is recognizing how the deck is stacked against those who rent. There are many provisions in the law to keep the tenant in line. Keep a pet or live with an unapproved partner or roommate? The 3-day notice may come. A few days late (or a dollar short) on the rent? Sudden death for the tenancy. Yet the rules are much more lax for landlords, and the bad apples among them withhold repairs, enter the unit unlawfully, and even retaliate. Holding them to account is the tenant’s challenge because often the city won’t. Read More How the Deck is Stacked Against Tenants

Beverly Hills City Council Endorses Prop 10

Beverly Hills City Council has endorsed Proposition 10 for the November ballot. If passed by voters, Proposition 10 would enact the Affordable Housing Act to repeal the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing law — the legislature’s ‘gift to landlords’ because it ties the hands of any city that would enact rent controls. Our city’s endorsement is a statement in support of local control and self-determination and anyone, tenant or landlord, who is concerned about local control for Beverly Hills should support Proposition 10. That’s why our City Council voted unanimously to endorse it. Read More Beverly Hills City Council Endorses Prop 10

Landlords: Tenants Must Be Happy With RSO Because We Didn’t Complain

Landlords claim that we tenants were a happy lot before City of Beverly Hills mucked around with the rent stabilization ordinance last winter. They say they hardly ever hit us with excessive rent increases; that properties were maintained just fine; and that no-cause eviction was not even a thing. So why fix what wasn’t broke? To back up those claims they have analyzed four years of Code Enforcement complaints. However this latest Hail Mary attempt to tank our rent stabilization program will persuade nobody that the system didn’t need fixing. Read More Landlords: Tenants Must Be Happy With RSO Because We Didn’t Complain

Dialogue #2: Rent Banking, Exemptions and Rent Adjustment (Recap)

Dialogue #2 was convened to address three issue areas up for discussion at City Council this fall: rent banking, exemption of certain properties from rent stabilization, and the rent adjustment process. Like dialogue #1, city consultant HR&A Advisors presented each issue then passed the microphone to tenants and landlords for comment. Like dialogue #1, this session was less ‘dialogue’ and more call-and-response to have us reflect on a set of defined policy options. Read More Dialogue #2: Rent Banking, Exemptions and Rent Adjustment (Recap)

Dialogue #1: No-cause, Relocation Fees, Ellis & Habitability (Recap)

Dialogue #1 Municipal GalleryDialogue #1 kicked off with an introduction by Susan Healy Keene, Director of the Community Development Department, and then moved straight to a series of four issue presentations from city consultant, HR&A Advisors. Each was followed by followed by an open mic for public comments. Unlike last summer’s roundtable discussions, this series of dialogues is highly structured. There is a walk-through of each issue; then a bit about what the issue means to Beverly Hills tenants and landlords; and finally HR&A provides policy options to which the public is invited to respond. Read More Dialogue #1: No-cause, Relocation Fees, Ellis & Habitability (Recap)

Tips to Avoid the Carpet Cleaning Bait-and-Switch

Longtime tenants know this story: worn carpets long past their prime get to looking downright threadbare. Yet pleas for renewal find no sympathy from an inattentive landlord. Even a request for a carpet cleaning falls on a deaf ear (so to speak). When the quality of interior furnishings like carpets declines, it can fall to the tenant to pick up the slack: new paint, new carpet and the occasional carpet cleaning at her own expense. We’ve done that and more over the past twenty years and most recently hired a carpet cleaner. Here are our lessons learned! Read More Tips to Avoid the Carpet Cleaning Bait-and-Switch

Landlord Stories: ‘Extortionist Tenants’

When rental property owner Sharon Darnov appeared before City Council on August 7th she shared an observation. “There are good landlords and there are bad landlords,” she said. “There are good tenants and there are bad tenants.” Darnov didn’t talk about bad landlords but did have a word to say about ”extortionists” and “grifters” among her tenants. Every landlord has a story! Watch the video for Darnov’s story. Read More Landlord Stories: ‘Extortionist Tenants’

Landlords File Federal Lawsuit to Invalidate Registry

Dan Yukelson landlord crusader coverBeverly Hills landlords have never liked the city’s rental unit registry. That year-old ledger of landlords, properties and tenancies is a must-have tool for the city to hold landlords accountable. That’s why landlords fought tooth and nail against it. Last fall their Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles brought a lawsuit in Superior Court to tank it. Having failed, the AAGLA is back with a literal federal case and a local landlord as plaintiff. Let’s take a look! Read More Landlords File Federal Lawsuit to Invalidate Registry

HR&A Data Brief: An Overview and Some Thoughts

The HR&A analysis underpinning the rent stabilization policy discussion has done our city a service: policymakers, landlords and tenants now have some idea about the character of rental housing stock in Beverly Hills and the tenants who inhabit it. Our city has had a rent stabilization ordinance on the books for four decades yet our city had no accurate tally of rental properties. We had no comprehensive assessment of character or ownership. Nor did the city understand the rental market and where Beverly Hills fit in. The city’s rental unit registry and the HR&A Advisors study has filled in those gaps. Read More HR&A Data Brief: An Overview and Some Thoughts

Seismic Retrofit Cost Back on the Rent Stabilization Agenda! [Updated]

City Council at the July 24th August 7th study session will continue a long discussion about how to fix structural deficiencies in about 300 residential buildings identified as seismically-vulnerable. Affected are predominantly ‘soft-story’ wood frame buildings (where the building overhangs outside parking) that comprise nearly a quarter of the city’s entire rental housing stock. They also provide much of the city’s relatively-affordable housing. So the suggestion that the cost of seismic retrofit be pushed on to tenants should give us pause. What is euphemistically termed “cost recovery” in reality would make nearly 2,000 renting households investors in their landlord’s property. But we would hold zero equity. Is this the right approach for Beverly Hills? Read More Seismic Retrofit Cost Back on the Rent Stabilization Agenda! [Updated]

Rent Stabilization Policy Process Materials are Posted

RSO bulletin callout boxCity of Beverly Hills has released a raft of draft rent stabilization issue papers produced by the city’s consultant, HR&A Advisors. As we explained in a recent post, The City’s Roadmap for Rent Stabilization, the consultant’s work will shape the City Council’s policy discussion this fall. That includes key issues like the no-just-cause eviction, rent increases and relocation fees; but it also includes proposals that favor landlords like rent-banking and exemptions from the rent stabilization program. Let’s look at what the city laid on us this week. Read More Rent Stabilization Policy Process Materials are Posted

MORE Facilitated Dialogues on the Way!

The city has announced the return of rent stabilization facilitated dialogues beginning August 15th and wrapping up in September. These topic-focused dialogues will offer the community (tenants and landlords) and opportunity to review and comment on the findings of the city’s rent stabilization consultant. (View the materials.) We will see a return engagement by Sukhsimranjit Singh, who facilitated the earlier round last summer, wherein considerable time and energy was expended. City Council then kicked it over to a consultant for further study. Now tenants and landlords will again have their say. Read More MORE Facilitated Dialogues on the Way!

Knocking Down Landlord Claims

Landlord Kevin Davis penned a letter to the Courier in the June 13th issue that warned of a “massacre” upon those who lease apartments should the Beverly Hills rent stabilization program continue. While we are accustomed to hyperbolic bloviating by property interest associations (like the hammer-and-sickle theme from the Apartment Owners Association of LA), when landlords offer specious and unfounded claims they should be knocked down. Here is the Renters Alliance rebuttal was published in the July 20th issue. Read More Knocking Down Landlord Claims

Wilshire-Rodeo Station Construction: Where is the Mitigation for Tenants?

Wilshire-Rodeo station location mapDo you live in near the future Metro station at Wilshire and Reeves? If so you are likely to experience construction-related disruption from the project. But If you rent housing near the future Purple Line station, your problems are only beginning. Households near the station are quite likely to be displaced over the coming years, so I’ve asked City of Beverly Hills to consider strong-arming Metro for compensation. Read on! Read More Wilshire-Rodeo Station Construction: Where is the Mitigation for Tenants?