Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Seismic retrofitting would be required in thousands of older buildings across Los Angeles under a proposed law that won the backing of a City Council committee Wednesday.

The measure that is expected to go before the full City Council Friday could affect as many as 13,500 wood-framed buildings with weak lower floors, and an estimated 1,500 brittle concrete buildings that were built prior to enactment of seismic building standards.

City building officials are still determining which buildings would actually require seismic retrofitting, and no decisions were made during the Housing Committee’s hearing Wednesday on possible financing options for the projects and how costs would be shared between tenants and landlords.

Mayor Eric Garcetti told City News Service last week he supports passing some, but not all, of the retrofitting costs on to tenants.

“I think through the discussions that happened over the process of a year, it was clear that landlords probably couldn’t shoulder it all themselves and it would be unfair to ask for it to be a 100 percent pass through,” he said.

The mayor said he is “flexible” on the cost-sharing ratio, but thinks “50/50 is fair.” He added that he hopes there will be tax credits or other programs to prevent any costs from being passed to tenants.

Garcetti noted during an emergency preparedness event last week that state lawmakers recently approved a bill, authored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, that would offer tax incentives for property owners who need to make seismic retrofits.

Los Angeles’ proposed quake retrofitting mandate is part of a push by Garcetti to address the city’s vulnerabilities during an earthquake. He released a plan in December that sets forth recommendations for reducing casualties and protecting the city’s water supplies, communications infrastructure and buildings.

Under Garcetti’s “Resilience by Design” plan, owners of wood-framed, “soft-story” buildings with weak first floors — commonly apartment units built over garages — would have up to six years to make the upgrades, while owners of concrete “non-ductile” buildings would have up to 30 years.

City News Service

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