City Negotiates Purchase of 113 North Gale Apartments for Redevelopment

Every Beverly Hills City Council evening meeting is preceded by a closed session where confidential issues such as litigation, employment and real property is discussed. This week’s closed session agenda featured a city negotiation over the purchase of land at 113 North Gale. That multifamily property is adjacent to city-owned land that fronts on Wilshire and which the city wants to redevelop most likely as housing above retail. If the city and landlord agree on terms then the 113 N Gale parcel will be part of it. What does that mean for tenants at the Gale property?

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Mayor Slashes Time and Limits Opportunities for Public Comment

City of Beverly Hills mayor Julian Gold has taken a big step backward on public participation. He has cut in half the time afforded to members of the public who attend in order to address City Council face-to-face. Tonight we had only 90 seconds to face our elected representatives instead of the customary three minutes. The mayor also cut by one-third the time a member of the public is afforded to comment on any matter that is on the agenda. Instead of three minutes to talk about rent increases, for example, tenants and landlords were permitted to speak for only two minutes. Written comments took the worst hit: instead of reading them aloud, as usual, the city clerk merely summarized them. The city clerk says all of it was perfectly legal. But that does not make it right.

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Beverly Hills Rent Subsidy: More Talk or Real Action?

Rent increases for Beverly Hills rent-stabilized tenants took effect on July 1st. Most tenants will see a maximum annual increase of 3.2% while a very small number of tenants with tenancies regulated by Chapter 5 of the rent stabilization ordinance can see a maximum 5.9% rent increase. The latter percentage is higher than any time in the past three decades. When agreeing to those percentage increases City Council revived talk about a proposed tenant subsidy. Is this talk to deflect political heat or will eligible tenants actually see relief?

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City Council Agrees to 3.2% Chapter 6 Rent Increase

City Council approved a maximum allowable annual rent increase for most rent-stabilized tenancies at 3.2% effective July 1. That percentage was recommended by staff as a return to the customary practice of indexing the rent increase to inflation. City Council also disallowed landlords from recovering rent increases missed due to the moratorium. Together with a 5.9% rent increase for Chapter 5 households, the outcome was City Council’s effort to close the book on the pandemic.

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City Council OKs Biggest Chapter 5 Rent Increase in Decades

City Council has approved the highest annual rent increase for Chapter 5 rent-stabilized tenants in decades. At 5.9% this year’s increase is nearly twice the rate of inflation for our region. It falls hardest on long-term rent control households that are headed almost exclusively by seniors who live on a fixed-income. Meanwhile Chapter 6 tenants get a relative break with a 3.2% rent increase. Yet there is no sign on the horizon of the often-mentioned rent subsidy which was left for dead by a City Council committee a full year ago. What are our councilmembers thinking?

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City Council to Decide This Year’s Maximum Allowed Rent Increase [Updated]

Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that inflation has moderated: the annual change in the cost of goods and services in our region is 3.2% which is down from a high of 8.5% last summer. That is good news for Beverly Hills rent-stabilized tenants because the maximum allowable annual rent increase is ordinarily pegged to inflation. But this is no ordinary year and City Council will contemplate a rent increase that is greater than the rate of inflation when it meets on June 27th. The key question: will moderating inflation mean a moderate allowed annual rent increase?

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RSO Commission Recommends Up to 10% Annual Increase (incl. pass-throughs)

Among the issues referred to the Rent Stabilization Commission for discussion by City Council in 2018 was the maximum annual rent increase. The percentage increase is the top-line figure that most of us care about: how much more rent can the landlord charge? We caution tenants to instead think about the bottom line: how much can the total cost of my housing rise if pass-throughs surcharges apply. The commission has recommended to allow the bottom-line total cost to rise by as much as a 10% over the prior year — just like the old exorbitant 10% cap on the Chapter 6 rent increase. How did we get back to the bad old days?

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RSO Commission OKs Pass-Through of Seismic Retrofit, Other Fees

The Beverly Hills rent stabilization commission in June agreed to recommend certain pass-through surcharges for rent-stabilized tenants. If city council agrees then landlords could pass-through half the cost of seismic retrofit and half the cost of the $67 rent stabilization fee that is paid by landlords. Also recommended is a pass-through of $100 monthly for each additional occupant not on the lease. These surcharges could add a few additional percentage points to the annual rent increase.

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What Happened to the Beverly Hills Rent Subsidy?

This summer will be a difficult time for some Beverly Hills tenants. The one-year rent repayment period has expired so rent delayed pursuant to the city’s moratorium is now due in full. In July landlords can again raise the rent with the percentage to be decided by city council at the upcoming June 27th meeting. And August 1st is the first in a series of rolling monthly deadlines for repayment of rent delayed pursuant to the Los Angeles County moratorium. Housing costs will be more of a burden than ever. What happened to that Beverly Hills rent subsidy?

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Unsuccessful Recount and Unlawful Cheval Blanc Flyers: Who is the Common Thread?

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder certified the results of the May 23 referendum on Cheval Blanc and it failed to pass by a margin of only 80 votes. Yet LVMH didn’t spend more than $3 million on the YES on Measures B & C campaign — more than $1,000 per vote! — to concede defeat to local yokels. So the Hail Mary play was to demand a recount. Now that has wrapped and the voters have the last word: Measure B & C fail and the proposed Cheval Blanc goes down to defeat.

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Consumer Prices in May Show Annual Decline of 3.2%

Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the latest consumer prices data and the good news is that inflation has declined considerably from last year’s historic peak of 8.5%. The May-to-May price data for our region show an annual percentage change of only 3.2% and that suggests a more moderate maximum allowable annual rent increase for Beverly Hills rent-stabilized households starting in July. That is unless our councilmembers decide to allow landlords significantly greater than 3.2% so they can recoup rent increases delayed by the moratorium.

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