The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday will likely approve two emergency ordinances aimed at halting “no-fault” evictions of people living in rental units built before 2006 and to bar all rent increases until Jan. 1, when a new state law goes into effect that provides similar protections.
A no-fault eviction is defined as when a tenant is evicted for reasons that are no fault of their own.
Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month signed AB 1482, the Tenant Protections Act of 2019, which is designed to prevent rent gouging and arbitrary evictions. The legislation establishes protection for renters in non-rent stabilized housing.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office said the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department is reporting a spike in the number of calls and inquiries about sudden eviction notices, and said property owners have been advised to quickly issue no-fault eviction notices to tenants who pay low rents in advance of the act’s protections.
Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who crafted the proposal to stop all rent increases, said people are struggling to make payments.
“… It is cheaper to keep you in your home than build affordable housing these days,” Martinez said last week. “If we cannot find a way or the means to keep a single mom, who’s holding down two jobs to pay her rent, if we cannot find a way to keep her in her home, then we have failed.”
Martinez also said the council should expand programs that help keep people from being evicted.
“We are possibly witnessing the unintended consequences of a law that was designed to assist our low-income earners and families who struggle on the margins,” O’Farrell said last week. “We are in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, and as lawmakers we must do everything in our power to protect those renters who may face rent gouging from landlords who are trying to take advantage of a window of opportunity.”
According to the proposed law, 60% of the city’s residents are renters and a majority of them are rent-burdened, paying over 30% of their income for housing.
Although about 76% of the multi-family rental units in Los Angeles are regulated by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which protects renters from large rent increases and arbitrary evictions, there are no similar protections for about 138,000 households that will be covered on Jan. 1.
“If we don’t put our foot down, it’s going to be hundreds maybe thousands of buildings” of people evicted, City Councilman Paul Koretz said. “Everything that we’ve done could be wiped out and we could end up with literally thousands of people on the streets.”
According to the motion, an estimated 30,000 evictions take place in Los Angeles each year, and the threat of no-fault evictions are escalating.
The ordinance would not apply to people living in nursing homes, non-profit housing, dormitories at schools or similarly subsidized housing.
The state law is to be in effect until 2030, unless voters extend it.