Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles City Hall. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles City Council ordered reports Wednesday on two proposals aimed at protecting tenants of the city’s 650,000 rent- controlled units from being unfairly evicted, including one that would put more pressure on landlords to properly maintain the properties.

The council instructed city staffers to report back on a measure that would require landlords of rent-controlled units to report any changes to rent rates, and another that would strengthen enforcement of code enforcement at the properties to make sure landlords are doing needed repairs.

Councilman Gil Cedillo pushed for the measures, saying they are designed to make sure “our tenants will no longer have to live in substandard conditions here in the city of Los Angeles” and monitor rent rates to deter landlords from raising them illegally in an effort to force out tenants.

Cedillo said about 60 percent of the city’s residents are renters, with the number going up to 75 percent in his own Northeast Los Angeles and Chinatown-area district.

The reports were ordered as hundreds of low-income renters and their advocates converged on Los Angeles City Hall to call for protections, with some saying the amount of affordable housing in the city has dwindled but there has been a rise in abuse by landlords who are improperly evicting tenants.

Mike Dennis of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation said the measures considered today are “very important steps … but more aggressive action needs to be taken to address the housing crisis with no delay, because the housing crisis is real and it’s devastating working class neighborhoods.”

Dennis said his group is also calling on city leaders to address the Ellis Act, a state law that allows property owners to evict renters in order to do rehabilitation work, which he said serves as an incentive for owners to allow their properties to go into disrepair.

Once residents move out of rent-controlled properties, they become market-rate properties, under the city’s rent control program.

 —Staff and wire reports

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