SB 712: Tenants May Keep a ‘Micromobility’ Device At Home

Landlords can be arbitrary when it comes to ‘house rules.’ We know landlords that don’t allow the storage of bicycles in common areas or even leased premises like the balcony. Yet few apartment houses provide bicycle parking. That is also the problem with personal mobility devices like scooters and e-bikes: where to store and charge them? On January 1st Senate Bill 712 took effect. The new law allows a bicycle, e-bike or other micromobility device to be stored inside an apartment. But some conditions apply so let’s look at the details!

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Sacramento Limits Security Deposits to One Month’s Rent*

In recent years our state legislature has chipped away at certain rental housing practices that harm tenants every day. Most recently Assembly Bill 12 took effect on July 1st to bar most landlords from demanding more than one month’s rent for the security deposit. It was intended by legislatures to make renting more financially affordable at the front end. But it also provides a move-out benefit for tenants who would be ripped-off by their unscrupulous landlord: he can keep only one month’s worth of deposit without any justification. Here is what Assembly Bill 12 means for tenants.

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Juneteenth: The Beverly Hills Construction Holiday That Wasn’t!

Beverly Hills employee unions asked for a paid holiday for Juneteenth. City hall couldn’t agree more and city council gave its approval in December. Would residents also get a holiday from construction on this new city holiday? Yes! Five months later council proclaimed it so. However the holiday ordinance was adopted two days too late for Juneteenth to be recognized as a construction holiday this year. The employees got their paid holiday but residents didn’t get our holiday so construction proceeded apace across the city. Read on to learn how we lost our promised construction holiday in 2024.

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Are You a ‘Disruptive’ Tenant? A Hearing Officer Could Decide Your Fate!

Dear tenant troublemakers: Did you know that the Beverly Hills rent stabilization ordinance allows your landlord to haul you up before a city council committee as a ‘disruptive tenant’? And if adjudicated as disruptive you could face eviction? Three tenants faced the process but none turfed-out by our council’s committee. Had an independent hearing officer heard those cases any could have been decided differently. Now city council wants to put a hearing officer in charge. The change is up for discussion on the June 18th council afternoon agenda.

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City Employees Get Another Holiday…and We Get a Break from Construction Noise

Last year Beverly Hills reached agreement with city labor unions to bump-up pay and benefits. Pay will rise much faster than inflation and employees can now cash-out a full two to four weeks of unused vacation time for pension-padding compensation under the new agreement. These changes, and more, will add $12 million in new employee costs over three years. But this new perk caught our eye: a new paid city holiday added to the existing ten city holidays. ‘Juneteenth’ falls on June 19th. If city council could, by the stroke of the pen, create a new paid holiday….can’t could make Juneteenth a construction holiday too?

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Maximum Allowable Annual Rent Increase for Chapter 6 Tenants: 3.9%

The maximum allowable annual rent Increase for Chapter 6 Beverly Hills rent-stabilized tenants has been posted: through June of 2025 the rent may be increased by 3.9% with proper notice. That figure reflects the May-to-May percentage change in the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI) for our region. (The maximum allowable increase for the relatively few Chapter 5 households, i.e. old rent control, for June is 3.2%.) The rent increases did not require city council approval because the percentages were again indexed to inflation after pandemic-era measures came to an end in May 2023.

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Renting Households Will Be Hardest-Hit by Electric Rate Change

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a change in electricity rates that will hit hardest the smallest households that pay the power bill directly to investor-owned utilities like Southern California Edison. New for electricity bills in 2025 is a higher fixed charge of $24.15 monthly that will fund improvements to the power grid and the costs of mitigating damage from wildfires. Offsetting the higher charge is a modest decrease in electricity usage rates. The goal is to encourage consumers to buy electric appliances and vehicles but the cost of the policy change will be borne disproportionately by smaller households.

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County COVID Rent Relief is Available…With Caveats

Los Angeles County is providing another $68 million in rent relief to qualified LA County landlords for COVID–19 rent arrears. Funds will cover up to $30k in back rent if that debt was incurred after April 1, 2022. The caveats: the landlord must apply; and priority will go to geographic areas in the county that are deemed high or highest need. The application window closes June 4th.

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Beverly Hills to Dissolve the Rent Stabilization Commission

City council has tentatively agreed to dissolve the Rent Stabilization Commission. The commission from the outset was beset with operational challenges: discussions were by turns divisive and meandering; commissioners were slow to grasp complex policies; and commissioner vacancies proved difficult to fill. Given the dysfunction this commission was a distraction for rent stabilization staff that had more important problems to address. So city council tentatively agreed to scuttle it. What does that mean for Beverly Hills tenants?

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220 Lasky Fire: Grief for Occupants, Opportunity for the Landlord

A structure fire at 220 Lasky on the morning of August 1st displaced eight households from their rent-stabilized housing. The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation. What is known is that the fire originated in unit #3 in this 8-unit apartment building and firefighters were able to contain it. But the smoke and water damage has rendered the property uninhabitable. Nearly two weeks after the fire the landlord has yet to provide displaced occupants with the required temporary housing. It seems like the landlord is playing for time while pitching low-ball buyouts to traumatized tenants.

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City Council Agrees to Reduce Public Participation

Mayor Julian Gold at the June 27, 2023 City Council meeting decided that public comment would to be limited to 90 seconds per speaker. That is half the three minutes usually allowed. The mayor also trimmed comment time on agenda items to two minutes from three. Finally he directed the city clerk to summarize written public comments rather than read them in their entirety. Would City Council go along with the mayor’s initiative to limit our ability to address our elected representatives?

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