As we enter this final phase of the policy process there is the possibility that City Council will backtrack on some protections that Beverly Hills tenants have today. At the next Council meeting on December 18th at 7 pm (City Hall), councilmembers will consider a draft resolution that cements the problematic proposals that were discussed at the last rent stabilization meeting.
If you are going to speak up now is the time to speak up! The draft resolution is the blueprint for the new law. Scroll down to the contact City Council section.
City Council reached consensus on the these policy proposals on November 20th. Do they reflect your vision of rent stabilization in Beverly Hills?
- Council created a new ‘duplex exemption’ from rent stabilization that could immediately remove the capped annual rent increase for 99 households that rent from owners who live at the property. As many as 112 more households could lose their protections and face an unlimited rent increase if those duplex owners choose to move in. And worst, for every one of the remaining non-occupant owners who moves into his duplex to gain an exemption, there will of course be a displaced household — as many as 112 of them. Read more about the duplex exemption.
- Council has significantly broadened the definition of ‘landlord use’ to include four generations of relatives. When an owner, his parent, kid, or grandchild moves into his property, a family will have to move out. That is a significant expansion of the current definition of owner (which includes direct relatives). The worst part, those displaced households will get only a prorated relocation fee — 10% for each year of tenure in the unit. That’s a significant backtrack on the relocation fees enacted by Council just two years ago.
- Council has deemed the first year of any new tenancy a “trial” period. Under this proposal provision — unique to Beverly Hills — a landlord can choose to send his tenant packing at the conclusion of the lease period without paying any relocation fee. He need only give the tenant six months notice. That is a real backtrack on the Council’s recent decision to end no-just-termination. Read more about the probationary tenancy here.
- Council has agreed to create a ‘luxury exemption’ that would allow an unlimited allowed annual rent increase and remove other protections like relocation fees for as many as several hundred families. That would happen if and when the rent for an apartment unit rises above some as-yet-determined dollar amount. As discussed, 5% of renting households could lose on this proposal. Read more about the details and whether your rent may qualify you for exemption.
- Council agreed that tenants will see some additional pass-throughs including perhaps one-third of the landlord’s cost for seismic retrofit. (West Hollywood puts it all on the landlord!)
- Council agreed to a new Beverly Hills-specific habitability standard but keeps tenants in the unfortunate position of having to report her landlord for violations. Council will use both tenant complaints and random inspections but will NOT create a system of regular inspections that works so well in Los Angeles. Tenants would still face retaliation.
- Council has created a new commission to strip ‘disruptive’ tenants of their apartments. That is, if the landlord – or even a neighbor – can substantiate repeated instances of disruption. But that reason for eviction is less protective than the state standard. It is a backtrack on the end to no-just-cause. The worst part: a tenant will defend himself against eviction before a panel that is majority homeowners. Read more about the new ‘disruptive tenant’ cause for eviction.
- Council may provide a modest cash supplement to tenants who will qualify for assistance. This would be based on household income. That subsidy program is proposed to let the city off the hook for keeping the maximum allowed annual rent increase as low as our neighbor cities. Read more about how many tenants — especially seniors — will lose ground under the maximum allowed increase proposal.
These consensus positions could become law shortly after the beginning of the year IF City Council continues at its breakneck pace and wraps-up the process by the end of this year.
Just because Mayor Gold is ready to put a fork in it does not mean it’s ready to be served up to tenants. Do you agree? If not this is no time to sit it out. Mark your calendar for the December 18th evening City Council meeting.
Get in touch with Renters Alliance NOW if you want to review your comments. Please sign-up for the Renters Alliance email newsletter if you haven’t already. We will keep you informed with the best analysis of Beverly Hills rent stabilization policies anywhere.
Contact City Council
One way to reach our councilmembers is by phone at (310) 285-1013. PHONE CALLS MATTER!
Ask for a councilmember by name or ask to leave a message for the Council as a whole.
Then identify the issue (or issues) that concerns you most. You need not go into much detail, just why the issue(s) affects you. A sentence or two is all it takes.
Finally suggest the action you want Council to take — specific action — and if possible reference the proposal that is already on the table and why it may need to change.
Another way is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The message goes to all councilmembers. Again, identify your issue(s) and be brief and specific about your concerns. Suggest the action you want City Council as a whole to take.
(If you want to contact a specific councilmember by email, please note that only councilmembers Bosse, Friedman and Wunderlich provide one. Find those councilmembers’ direct email addresses on the City Council website under the member’s profile.
Need a Refresher on the Process?
Recall that in January 2017 Beverly Hills adopted an urgency ordinance to create new protections for residents who rent. That included a lower CPI-indexed cap on the allowed annual rent increase for Chapter 6 tenants; and relocation fees for any tenant who is involuntarily terminated. Read more about prior changes to the rent stabilization ordinance here. More recently City Council ended no-just-cause termination. Read more about the end to no-just-cause termination here. Get involved if you don’t want to see the city backtrack on those commitments.