City Council to Discuss COVID-19 Emergency Order on June 24

A question on the mind of many tenants is when will the tenant protections enacted under the Beverly Hills COVID–19 emergency order come to an end. City of Beverly Hills imposed a moratorium on evictions for non-payment and blocked no-fault evictions last fall. Subsequently city council amended the emergency order to put a moratorium on rent increases for rent-stabilized tenants too. With state emergency orders getting rolled-back when will state and local tenant protections expire? We may know more on Thursday June 24 when city council discusses it.

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State Eviction Protections End on June 30th

“California is open for business!” proclaimed our governor who is facing a recall. He’s talking “dream vacations” and $1.5 million lottery jackpots as he tosses pandemic restrictions to the dustbin. He wants to turn a depressing COVID–19 story into an uplifting tale of triumph but the messaging coming from his office seems like a trailer for a Hollywood blockbuster. Tenants in dire straits need more than a lottery and free queso from Chipotle. Yet Sacramento is silent about renewing COVID–19 tenant when they expire.

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Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance Clears First Hurdle in Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles is poised to enact a comprehensive ‘Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance’ to enact sanctions and remedies when residential landlords engage in lawful and unlawful actions intended to influence tenants to vacate. Notably it establishes civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation and criminal misdemeanor fines up to $1,000 for each offense. With this ordinance Los Angeles will protect tenants at the very moment when tenants are the most vulnerable to unscrupulous practices

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Expect a 3.9% Rent Increase When the Moratorium is Lifted

Bureau of Labor Statistics in June released the latest year-over-year change in consumer prices (CPI) and to nobody’s surprise the cost of living is on the rise! From May of last year to May of 2021 the cost of the ‘all items’ basket of goods and services as measured by CPI in our region is up 3.9%. Once the pandemic ends the rent will rise too — and very likely by 3.9% for rent-stabilized households in Beverly Hills. That would be the highest allowed annual rent increase in three years and it will come right on the heels of the pandemic.

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RSO Commission Seeks Tenant Representatives (Application Closes June 18th)

The city is seeking two residents who rent housing in Beverly Hills to join the Rent Stabilization Commission. The commission has been tasked by city council to make recommendations concerning certain amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance and to adjudicate certain appeals. In addition to two tenants, this unusual six-member commission includes designated seats for two landlords and two ‘at-large’ members (neither tenants nor landlords). No experience is necessary!

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Metro’s Next Stop: Lasky-Robbins-Young Neighborhood

Metro construction of the purple line extension entered a new phase last year when tunnel boring machines began to chew their way from Century City to the Wilshire/Rodeo station at Reeves. The route taken by these enormous rock-gobbling machines takes them underneath Beverly Hills High School and Lasky, Robbins and Young streets prior to tunneling across Wilshire. And metro has secured easements under multifamily properties all along the way. Another payday for some Beverly Hills landlords!

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The Challenge of Holding a Nuisance Landlord to Account

State law says that a tenant who is “maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance” on the premises has effectively terminated his lease. The landlord can petition the court for restitution of possession of the premises upon serving the tenant only a 3-day notice. It is an effective means of dealing with the nuisance and preserving the quiet enjoyment of the premises for both landlord and other tenants. But no provision in state law protects tenants when it is the landlord himself who is the nuisance!

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Brace Yourself: Higher Inflation Means a Larger Rent Increase

Listen to the news lately and you can’t miss the chatter about higher inflation. “Continuing supply chain disruptions, low inventories, and increasing labor costs have contributed to upward pricing pressures in recent weeks,” said the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco last week. Indeed consumer prices for the Los Angeles-Long Beach were up 3.6% in April over a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When the fed releases the May-to-May figures next month we will all know how large a rent increase Beverly Hills tenants will pay this year.

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David Hockney’s ‘A Neat Lawn’: Local Apartment Captured in an Iconic Image

British artist David Hockney painted A Neat Lawn in 1967 shortly after moving to Los Angeles with boyfriend Peter Schlesinger. They were slumming nearby just off Pico Boulevard. It was “the worst place we lived in,” Hockney has said. Yet this period in the late 1960s was among Hockney’s most productive. Among his greatest works was this one that flattened the Southern California domestic landscape (and lifestyle) into an amalgam of colored bands. Hockney didn’t need to look far for his inspiration, though, as the pictured property, 1033 South Bedford, is only blocks from Pico. What can we take-away from A Neat Lawn?

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Rent Stabilization Commission Veers Into the Ditch

When we last checked in on the city’s new Rent Stabilization Commission in March we found the wheels were coming off. Relations between tenant and landlord representatives had grown acrimonious. Issue discussions were contentious. Misunderstandings about tenancy law abounded. Then suddenly two tenant representatives quit out of frustration. Now the commission has run off the road and into a ditch. What will it take to make it roadworthy again?

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The Wheels Have Fallen Off the Rent Stabilization Commission

On the Rent Stabilization Commission’s March 3rd agenda was action item: relocation fees. Commissioners had earlier reached consensus on reducing the relocation fee but this fourth round of discussion was to nail down the many details yet to be decided. Just three minutes into the meeting, though, after the pledge and roll call, it came to an abrupt end. No business could be done because no tenant representative was on hand. This was the moment when the wheels finally came off.

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