Beverly Hills Rental Housing Assistance: Only Landlords Need Apply

Councilmember Bob Wunderlich back in March proposed a rental housing assistance program to help eligible tenants to afford a large rent increase of the kind we expect to see in the coming years. Council was eager to get a program up and running and in April the mayor appointed two councilmembers to an ad-hoc committee to flesh it out. The ad-hoc ran aground and we heard nothing more about it until late October when the RSO office quietly contacted landlords about a subsidy program. What happened to financial help for tenants? Let us explain!

Read more

Rent Stabilization Commission Warms to Pass-Through Surcharges

The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission at the September meeting indicated that it may recommend landlords be allowed to pass-through to tenants certain costs of doing business in addition to the rent. Commissioners seemed inclined to OK some or all of the bill for city-mandated seismic retrofit, for example, which could add $60-$120 per month to the rent. Pass-throughs could include other capital improvements like the cost of a new roof. And that’s on top of the cost of utilities that many tenants pay. To what extent should pass-throughs be allowed — and should the cumulative cost of pass-throughs be capped?

Read more

Nuisance Neighbor to Neighborhood Nuisance

In early 2020 Beverly Hills landlord Dr. Stephen Copen rented to a tenant with a penchant for disrupting the neighborhood. Each month Copen collects $3,000 from this tenant for one-half of a small two-bedroom apartment in his building, which is at the corner of Reeves and Charleville. He also rents the other half of the apartment to another tenant. While this landlord takes it in hand-over-fist, we in the neighborhood have seen our peace and quiet disappear. How is it that a nuisance neighbor can wreak havoc for nearly three long years?

Read more

RSO Commission Recommends a ‘Seismic’ Pass-Through to Tenants

The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission has tentatively agreed that tenants should pay for seismic retrofit as a surcharge on top of the rent — an additional $62.50 to $125 monthly per household, according to city staff projections, and that surcharge would be in place for a period of ten years. If City Council agrees, then that pass-through would represent a significant increase in the cost of rent for many households. West Hollywood and Santa Monica think landlords can afford to reinforce their apartment buildings without a pass-through. Why not in Beverly Hills?

Read more

The Voters Have Spoken! Our Wrap-Up of Election 2022

The 2022 Beverly Hills municipal election is behind us and the voters have spoken: incumbents Lester Friedman and John Mirisch will return to City Council. They will be joined by Sharona Nazarian — a lesser-known city commissioner who nevertheless came within six votes of besting front-runner incumbent Friedman. Competition for the third available council seat was stiff too: in a large field of candidates Mirisch managed to hold off fellow incumbent Wunderlich by 74 votes — a margin of only one third of one percent — while former planning commissioner Andy Licht put in a respectable showing for fifth place. Let’s look at the results.

Read more

RSO Commission Recommends No Change in the Max Rent Increase

The Rent Stabilization Commission at its July meeting discussed a recommendation to City Council that could amend the rent stabilization ordinance to allow certain pass-through charges and make a potential adjustment to the way the maximum allowable annual rent increase is calculated. Commissioners agreed to recommend an 8% cap on the annual rent increase for all rent-stabilized households in Beverly Hills and deferred action on pass-throughs until August. It was another circuitous and frustrating discussion in the commission’s marathon effort to work though the fundamental concepts behind the rent stabilization ordinance.

Read more

Confusion Persists About the Maximum Allowable Annual Rent Increase

The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission at the July meeting discussed what should be the maximum allowable annual rent increase and agreed to recommend that it be capped at 8% for all rent-stabilized households — which is the percentage cap in place today for longtime Chapter 5 tenants. Reporting on the commission’s recommendation has generated some confusion over what it might mean in terms of rent hikes for coming years. Let’s talk about the cap and more generally about indexing the rent increase to inflation and put it all into the context of the recent City Council decision to allow a 3.1% increase this year.

Read more

RSO Commission to Discuss the Rent Increase Cap and Allowable Pass-Throughs

The Rent Stabilization Commission at its regular July 6th meeting will revisit an issue that will concern every Beverly Hills rent-stabilized household: potential future amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance relating to the maximum allowable annual rent increase and and the charges that may be passed-through to tenants. Each can make a difference in the amount of rent we pay but affect the price of housing in very different ways. Let’s take a look at what’s on the commission’s agenda and how it may affect tenants.

Read more

County Moratorium: New Protection from Eviction for Low-Income Households

The Los Angeles County moratorium protection against eviction for nonpayment of rent is back in effect. As of July 1, 2022 low-income renting households may delay the payment of rent if they are unable to pay rent due to COVID by filing a declaration with the landlord. The landlord must accept the declaration and no documentation is necessary. This will come as a relief to households financially impacted by COVID yet were left out on a limb after City of Beverly Hills sunset our residential tenant moratorium on May 31st. But the county moratorium offers additional protections too. Let’s take a look.

Read more

Library Moves to Collect Old Fines Days Before Discontinuing Overdue Fines

Beverly Hills library collects a fine of 25¢ for each day that an adult book, CD or DVD is overdue. Those quarters add up and some households are in debt. Now the city is serious about collecting. Last week borrowers in arrears received an emailed notice threatening to refer that debt to a collection agency…with only ten days notice and an additional 40% added for referring it to collections. Libraries around the country have discontinued overdue fines and — wait for it! — so has our library as of July 1st. So why put the strong-arm on households in the 11th hour?

Read more

City Council: No Change to Limited 3.1% Rent Increase…For Now

City Council at last night’s meeting made no change in the current arrangement that allows landlords of rent-stabilized units to demand up to 3.1% more rent starting in July. But the rent hike only affects about one-quarter of renting households — those that did not pay a rent increase during the 2019–20 fiscal year. Most households wouldn’t see a rent increase at all until next July. Some hidden hand in City Hall was behind the RSO office’s effort to expand that rent increase to all renting households, but after an extended discussion to nearly 2 am Council didn’t go along. Here’s the story.

Read more