30 OCTOBER 2018 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Janet Gagnon, Director, Government Affairs and External Relations Local Advocacy Update Los Angeles County Tenant Protections Working Group: The Tenant Protection Working Group (Working Group) for Los Angeles County submitted their final report on August 15, 2018 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. These recommendations are applicable only in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and do not apply to any incorporated cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pasadena, etc. The Working Group recommended creating a minimum rent increase or “floor” of either 2% plus the increase in the Consumer Price Index or 3%, whichever is lower, and a maximum rent increase or “ceiling” of 8%. In addition, they recommended prohibiting any rent increases on units vacated due to eviction and in situations where there are any unresolved habitability complaint. The Working Group has also recommended instituting “Just Cause” evictions for all rental units, including single family homes and condominiums (which are currently excluded from rent control due to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act). It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to review the recommendations and create a permanent ordinance. Rent Freeze: On September 11, 2018, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a rent freeze equal to 3% for Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas. The “freeze” means that owners would not be able to raise rents by more than 3% annually using September 11th as the base rent. The ordinance is to be in place for up to six months and could be extended by the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors requested County staff to draft a permanent ordinance within the next 60 days to be brought back to the Board of Supervisors for review and a final vote. If it passes on the final vote, then the ordinance would become effective 30 days later. The ordinance will also include some type of Just Cause provisions that will limit an owner’s ability to evict tenants. The exact language will not be known until the final draft is brought back to the Board of Supervisors for review. We encourage all members in Los Angeles County to email the Board of Supervisors and urge them to oppose the rent freeze when it comes back for a final vote. Supervisor’s contact information can be found at http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/lac/1031546_ BoardContactInformation.pdf. Los Angeles City Right to Counsel (a/k/a, Eviction Defense): Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion that was passed by the full City Council on August 17, 2018 to create a new ordinance for “Right to Counsel.” This means that the City of Los Angeles would pay for an attorney to represent every tenant facing an eviction of any type. The City of San Francisco passed a similar law by ballot measure in June 2018 and it is estimated that it will cost that City at least $4.2 million and $5.6 million annually. Councilman Koretz stated at the City Council meeting that it was not his intent for the City to pay for attorneys for tenants that did not “need” them and did not “deserve” them. It is yet to be determined how “need” and “deserve” are to be defined. The City staff was asked by the Council to come back with specific recommendations for a Right to Counsel ordinance within the next 120 days. We believe that it is a misuse of City funds to pay for defense attorneys when the vast majority of evictions are for non-payment of rent and having an attorney does not change that fact. If the City has extra funds, then it should provide emergency rental subsidies to tenants to pay their rent and avoid the eviction process entirely. Further, if attorneys are provided to tenants, then they should also be provided to “mom and pop” property owners to be fair and equitable. We encourage our members in the City of Los Angeles to email