City Council Bunts on Residential Moratorium

City Council deferred all decisions on the residential moratorium until sometime February when the impact of the Omicron variant might be better understood. Left unchanged is the tentative sunset date of March 31st and until that time at least the prohibition on eviction for nonpayment and for no-fault remain in force. Rent increases are on hold too. But the discussion suggested how councilmembers are thinking about ending the moratorium — and the costs that tenants may bear for rent increases delayed.

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City Council Will Revisit Local Moratorium Tenant Protections

Beverly Hills City Council on Tuesday will again reconsider whether or not to end moratorium tenant protections. The moratorium on evictions and rent increase may sunset as early as March 31st. For tenants still affected by the pandemic, the prospect of paying full rent, or facing eviction for nonpayment or no-fault, may be cause concern. And all tenants will likely find the prospect of a rent increase significantly higher than 3.9% a worry too.

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Habitability: A Few Key Concepts

Tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments time-and-again have informed city officials that conditions in rental housing need improvement. Sometimes the housing is substandard because it doesn’t meet the state’s ‘tenantable’ requirement which is merely fit for human habitation. More often conditions deteriorated because the landlord failed to maintain the property. Habitability touches on a number of concepts that didn’t get an airing in the Rent Stabilization Commission discussions. Let’s explain!

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If Gas-Powered Blowers are Banned, Why Are They Still Around?

The California Air Resources Board has finally clamped down on gasoline-powered leaf blowers by banning the sale of new machines starting in 2024. It is about time! This scourge of urban living has gotten a free pass from regulators for far too long. Localities have been banning them for years — Beverly Hills outlawed them in 1978 — yet these portable, point-source pollution emitters remain an everyday nuisance for residents everywhere.

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RSO Commission OKs Fees, Whiffs on Habitability

The Rent Stabilization Commission has agreed to recommend to City Council that relocation fees should be calculated differently. Most households would receive a substantially reduced fee according to our analysis. Households that rent from a ‘mom-and-pop’ landlord owning four or fewer units could see their fee further reduced. The good news is that the commission came to loggerheads on habitability so no action was taken that would tank a better standard for conditions in Beverly Hills rental housing.

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Habitability Comes Back to the Rent Stabilization Commission

On January 5th the Rent Stabilization Commission continues its habitability discussion and will likely decide whether or not Beverly Hills should create a local standard for minimum conditions in rental housing — and whether we need a rental housing inspection program to ensure landlords meet the standard. Today the city defaults to the state’s minimum standard — fit for human habitation — and with no systematic inspection some landlords fail to even meet that low bar. Let’s look at the commission’s prior discussions and what to look forward to at the next meeting.

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‘Fit for Human Habitation’ is Too Low a Habitability Standard

Beverly Hills needs a local habitability standard! Today the city defaults to the state law’s requirement: residential must be fit for human habitation. That is a low bar and most landlords meet it. But some problem landlords fail to maintain their property and then pocket the savings as profit. Case in point: 421 South Maple Drive in Beverly Hills. From the outside it is appealing to an apartment shopper. But poor conditions inside were a reminder that we hold very low expectations for the state of rental housing in Beverly Hills — and some landlords even fail to meet them.

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Commission Recommended Relocation Fees: A Bad Deal for Tenants

On December 5th the Rent Stabilization Commission is poised to pass a resolution that will recommend Beverly Hills to change the way the relocation fees are calculated. The new formula would reduce the fee for nine out of ten rent-stabilized households, should they be evicted, and effectively reduces the compensation for moving expenses to a flat $1,000 regardless of apartment size. The commission majority supported a change to relocation fees by a 4–2 vote. Tenant commissioners didn’t support it, though, because it would be a bad deal for tenants.

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Courier Gets It Wrong: Relocation Fees Would Fall, Not Rise

Again the Beverly Hills Courier gets it wrong. A recent report says the Rent Stabilization Commission’s recommended change to Beverly Hills relocation fees would result in higher compensation for most tenants. Not true: nine out of ten households would receive a lower fee — as much as several thousand dollars less — while some households would see their compensation further slashed if they rent from a ‘mom-and-pop’ landlord. We try to correct the record with this letter to the editor but the “Newspaper of Record for Beverly Hills” declined to print it.

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How to File a Code Enforcement Complaint

Code enforcement is compliant-driven in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately the city has no systematic rental housing inspection program, so City Hall relies on the public to report violations. Lax code enforcement has enabled some landlords to practice ‘managed decline’ where money that should go to maintenance is taken as profit. Renters Alliance encourages tenants to file a complaint because that is how we hold landlords accountable. Heck, landlords agree because they don’t want regular inspections. Here is our step-by-step guide to filing a complaint.

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How to Register for Beverly Hills e-Notices

Beverly Hills provides a service called ‘E-notice’ that will send city notices by email. The link to the subscription service is in the footer of the city website. Click though and you’re greeted with a blank login screen (above). There is no information about the service or why it is useful. Registration is at least a three-step process. But it’s worth it to receive rent stabilization division announcements and Rent Stabilization Commission agendas. We walk you through the sign-up process.

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