Rent Control & Higher Rents: Chicken-and-Egg Conundrum!

A Renters Alliance foot soldier forwarded a recent business section article from the Orange County Register titled, Fallout From State’s Rent Control Debate: More Rent Hikes. It caught my attention because it presupposes a familiar landlord argument: rent control leads to higher rents. Or is it that sharply higher rents lead to political support for rent control? Seems to me that this classic chicken-and-egg question deserves more thought than the premise implied by the article title.

Read more

Landlord Seminars: A Gear in the Organizing Machine

The great advantage that landlords have over tenants is professional organizing. They pay dues to support industry associations at the national, state, regional and local levels which then mobilize to beat back rent control in city halls. Associations find common cause with the constellation of landlord service providers, as I was reminded when I saw an upcoming seminar promoted by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. They work together to keep tenants perennially on the defensive.

Read more

City Requires This Outdated Handbook Be Provided to Tenants

The Tenant Landlord Rights & Responsibilities Handbook is an 8-page paper and online document that outlines key aspects of state and local tenancy law. It is a helpful document and required reading for tenants before they sign a lease. In fact landlords must provide it. But the Handbook hasn’t been updated in a year despite important amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance. Why can’t the city get this right?

Read more

Our Recap of the First Tenant RSO Workshop

On Monday City of Beverly Hills held its first ever rent stabilization workshop specifically for tenants. We pressed for a tenant-only workshop because tenants and landlord have different concerns (not to mention responsibilities) even though we contract with each other under what we’ve called a ‘layer cake’ of tenancy law. This workshop was a big improvement over past workshops. Here’s our recap.

Read more

No Excuses for Unprofessional Management

We hear a lot about the proverbial ‘mom-and-pop’ owner-operators of rental housing. They are hailed as hard-working, upstanding community members have scrimped and saved simply to have a ’nest egg’ on which they can fall back in retirement. But anecdotal accounts suggest they are also our least-professional operators. Here’s a snapshot of those poor practices.

Read more

Time for a Systematic Housing Inspection Program!

Worn carpets, low-amp juice, and clogged drains are familiar to tenants living in older buildings. The law requires nothing better, only that premises be “fit for the occupation of human beings.” But who checks? Our complaint-driven enforcement system makes every tenant a non-deputized housing inspector. We need a systematic housing inspection program and we need it now.

Read more

Rent Commission Application is Problematic for Tenants

City Council created a new Rent Stabilization Commission in April and applications are now being accepted. There are nine seats total and one third of them are designated for tenants including two voting members and an alternate member. The application window closes May 24th. Let’s look at some problems with application for the Rent Stabilization Commission application as posted on the website.

Read more