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?
City Council at the
Today City of Beverly Hills announced a bump-up in the allowed annual rent increase for Chapter 6 tenants. Effective June 12th the cap was raised from 3% to 4.1% – a one-third larger allowed increase. While that may come as a surprise to some, the Municipal Code allows the allowed annual rent increase to rise with the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for the Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Anaheim region. As calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that was 4.1% hence the rise in the allowed rent increase from 3% to 4.1%.
City Council baked tenants a full loaf of protections when it unanimously adopted an ‘urgency ordinance’ in January: annual rent increases were limited to 3% and significant relocation fees for an involuntary tenancy termination put the brake on no-cause evictions. Residents who rent have waited for such protections for 30 years! But a month on, it looks like landlords have gobbled half of our loaf!
Beverly Hills City Council felt your pain. Last night, we tenants secured from sympathetic councilmembers greatly-expanded protections. Gone are 10% rent increases. Gone are evictions without relocation fees. In a Council meeting that stretched to midnight and beyond, we heard some tales of landlord hardship but many more persuasive accounts of how tenants invest in our communities only to be tossed out summarily or handed a slow-motion eviction order in the form of successive, capricious rent hikes. At 1a.m. City Council used a seldom-invoked ‘urgency ordinance’ to approve several critical reforms to our rent stabilization ordinances.