The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to explore a potential ordinance that would require greater transparency from landlords on tenant utility bills.
The council instructed the Los Angeles Housing Department to report within 60 days on recommendations on the implementation of the ordinance, taking into account recommendations that include:
— requiring landlords and third-party agencies to disclose the methodology of utility charges;
— restricting billing for utilities outside a tenant’s unit;
— potentially using the LAHD as a mediator to resolve disputes for utility services between landlords and tenants;
— compliance strategies such as an enforcement program.
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who co-presented the original motion last February, said that many large buildings don’t have individual meters for each unit, so what tenants receive in their utility bill is often an estimate based on a formula.
Raman and several other council members also presented a motion Tuesday calling for a program providing a right to counsel for tenants facing eviction.