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RSO Commission’s Agenda: Ordinance Recommendations

City Council created the Rent Stabilization Commission but left open the question of what the commission will do. Originally it would adjudicate ‘disruptive’ tenant terminations and mediate habitability disputes (and more). But last month City Council decided that commissioners should first discuss changes to the rent stabilization ordinance. A straw poll among councilmembers provided some focus for that discussion.

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City Council Creates a Rent Stabilization Commission

City Council on April 2nd formally created a new Rent Stabilization Commission. Comprised of tenants and landlords and tasked with recommending changes to the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, it is a bold move to give tenants and landlords a real voice on issues that affect us. And it is the most tangible sign to date of the city’s commitment to the rent stabilization ordinance.

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Rent Stabilization Fallacy Exhibit B: 9683 West Olympic

In a previous post we followed up on a real estate listing for 169 North Clark Drive that local landlord (and Apartment Association executive director) Dan Yukelson had forwarded to city power brokers. His message was that longtime landlords are forced out of business by rent stabilization. He groused about “over regulation.” And he suggested that rent stabilization makes rental property ownership a losing proposition. That was all fallacy: 169 North Clark is a cash cow property. It was ‘exhibit A’ in rental property ownership ‘upside.’ Here is ‘exhibit B’: 9683 West Olympic.

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Rent Stabilization Fallacy Exhibit A: 169 North Clark

Local landlord Dan Yukelson recently circulated an email to city power brokers that claimed rent stabilization is harming mom-and-pop multifamily property owners in Beverly Hills. “These are ‘long time’ housing providers being forced out of business by over regulation and bad housing policies in Beverly Hills,” it says, and linked to several multifamily properties for sale. So we had a look. The listings don’t support specious claims but instead make the opposite argument: multifamily is still a money-minting business!

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309–325 South Elm: An Epitaph for Middle-Income Rental Housing

Moderate-income households take it on the chin in today’s tight rental housing market. Demand for rental apartments is rising as high housing costs push families to rent. Our region is attracting well-educated workers with higher salaries and they need housing. Yet Beverly Hills has not meaningfully increased the supply of apartments over decades. This is how these dynamics play out to our disadvantage in Beverly Hills.

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Tenants Should Not Depend on a Tarp to Keep Dry

The city has identified two objectives for rent stabilization: to enhance the stability of renting households and to maintain and improve rental housing. But when landlords put profit before maintenance neither objective is accomplished: the property declines and prematurely reaches the end of its useful life. And there is no clearer sign of decline than a tarp on the roof!

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City Communications Breakdown: It’s Always the Same!

Last week City Council took a big decision: tenants and landlords will again be a majority on the proposed rent stabilization commission. That is a big deal! The commission will discuss amendments to RSO and later hear appeals from landlords and tenants. Why didn’t we hear about that on the Rent Stabilization Program website? Still posted is the announcement for last week’s Council meeting. Another communications breakdown from City Hall.

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SoCalGas to Copen Tenants: It’s Up to You!

Here is the message that SoCalGas has for Dr. Stephen Copen’s tenants at 152 South Reeves: pay up the $1,359 your landlord owes or we’ll shut off your gas. It should come as no real surprise to any resident in his 12-unit apartment building. Helpfully this NOTICE TO TENANTS lets residents know that they could take this burden off the landlord by assuming “individual or joint responsibility” for the account and be on the hook for money and then deduct it from the rent.

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Make the Chapter 6 Maximum Rent Increase Floor-Free!

There are many issues up for consideration at Tuesday’s City Council meeting but among the most important is the proposed 3.5% floor on the maximum allowed annual rent increase. That floor allows a landlord a 3.5% increase even when his actual costs don’t increase much if inflation is low. This is nothing more than a City Council subsidy to landlords. It has to go!

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Greatest Threat to Tenants? The Proposed 3.5% Floor

Today is rent day, and that makes it an opportune moment to revisit City Council’s tentative consensus on a 3.5% floor for the maximum allowed annual rent for Chapter 6 tenants. As Councilmember Bob Wunderlich honestly described, this is a straight-up subsidy to landlords. We see it as an unearned bonus. Let’s take a look at what the floor is and what it means for tenants that could pay it.

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We Need More From the Rent Stabilization Program

The rent stabilization websites of West Hollywood and Santa Monica are chock-full of news-you-can-use: tenant-specific workshops, archived tenant newsletters, FAQs on topics like pets and security deposits and more. Each city provides a well-organized overview of the rent laws. Why can’t Beverly Hills better communicate with those who rent here?

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