Heads Landlords Win, Tails Tenants Lose

Remember when City Council proclaimed a housing crisis and drafted an urgency ordinance to tame runaway rents and require relocation fees? As a result so-called ‘mom-and-pop’ landlords besieged City Hall with an assist from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. If unchecked they will gobble up the loaf of protections that Council baked for us in January. Stand up now or lost those protections!

Please attend City Council’s Tuesday 7PM meeting where a possible ROLLBACK of tenant protections is on the agenda. The proposed proposed ordinance includes these changes:

  • Reduced relocation fees;
  • A new pass-through to tenants for major costs (like seismic retrofit)
  • An exemption to the 3% cap for the cost of improvements once considered a cost of business;
  • A new ‘fair and reasonable return’ standard for landlords (a new concept); and,
  • An adjudication process for rent-cap exemptions that finds no place for tenants.

Read the staff report as the devil is in the details. And read the AAGLA letter to City Council to know what landlords are proposing. For information on the January changes please refer back to our recap of the previous urgency ordinance. Remember the community organizers’ proverb: If you are not at the table then you are on the menu!

A Word About the Process

We saw this coming: the Human Relations Commission had convened two weekday 9AM ‘special meetings’ where landlords and residents could “come together to share ideas and concerns.” (Read the commission’s staff report.) But how many tenants can attend a 9AM weekday meeting?

Maybe just “professional tenants” as Human Relations chairperson Jerald Friedman said, echoing an Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles line. There was more: commissioner Karen Popovich Levyn called relocation fees a “windfall” for tenants. “Landlords are the ones who will be squeezed to the wall,” she said.

Every landlord (like Mr. Friedman) is a professional investor and operator of rental housing. Not one of us tenants is a “professional.”

Commissioner Annette Saleh who took a broader view. “The charge of city government is to build our community,” she said. “To me this is not an economic issue but a human and community issue. Home is not a commodity; it’s a basic human necessity.”

If you believe that home is where the heart is, as Commissioner Saleh said, then please join us at Council Chambers on Tuesday, February 21st at 7PM. Let us know you can make it!