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LA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MOTION TO PROTECT RENTERS FROM LANDLORD HARASSMENT

Saturday, Apr 29, 2017

The Los Angeles City Council approved a motion Friday aimed at protecting renters from being harassed by their landlords.

BY RYAN POSNER ON APRIL 28, 2017 IN GOVERNMENT

“Any action that we can take to increase both the city and the public’s awareness on affordable housing, Ellis Act proceedings and the rights of renters and the obligations of property owners, the better we all will be in preparing a line of defense in protecting our city’s precious affordable housing,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, who co-authored the housing motions.

“The legislation that we have introduced this week will lead to concrete reforms that will help us protect the homes of our fellow Angelenos.”

The anti-harassment motion directs city staff to review the tenant harassment ordinances of San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and any other California cities and report on the feasibility of adopting a similar measure in Los Angeles.

The motion was approved Friday on a 13-0 vote. The motion was originally passed on Wednesday but needed be voted on a second time due to a glitch in the computer system that scheduled the public speakers on the item. It was included with four other motions that were approved Wednesday all aimed at helping stabilize the affordable housing market.

Housing advocates report that some landlords harass tenants to encourage them to “voluntarily” move-out by taking away services, refusing to do repair work or using intimidation, Huizar’s office said.

Numerous studies have found that due to a lack of available units at all economic levels, rental prices have risen in recent years and the city is one of the least affordable in the country to live in.

One motion approved Wednesday directs the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department and the Department of City Planning to track the cumulative net gain/loss of affordable housing units in the city and regularly post the information online.

A second motion directs the Housing Department to develop strategies and funding needs for protecting existing affordable housing covenants and at- risk affordable housing covenants which may expire soon.

Another of the motions directs the Housing Department to notify respective council offices when Ellis Act proceedings begin. The Ellis Act allows landlords to exit the rental market but has guidelines and how it can be done and reimbursement for tenants who must move out.

Another motion requires property owners and property managers to inform tenants of their eviction rights under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

Councilman Gil Cedillo, who is chairman of the Housing Committee, offered his support of the motions on Wednesday and praised Huizar for bringing them forward.

“(Huizar) has articulated the urgent crisis that exists and the urgent need to move these things forward,” Cedillo said.