JANUARY 2019 issue

24 JANUARY 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Local Advocacy Update Los Angeles County – Rent Freeze On November 20, the County of Los Angeles’ Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to pass an interim rent “freeze” ordinance with only Supervisor Barger opposing it. The interim rent freeze ordinance takes effect on December 20 for the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The freeze limits rent increases to 3.0% per year based upon rents that existed as of September 11, 2018. In addition, the ordinance establishes Just Cause only evictions. “Just Cause” means that owners will no longer be able to serve a 30- or 60-day notice without specifying the reason for eviction. Instead, they will only be able to evict a renter for one of the following six reasons: (1) non-payment of rent, (2) renter violation of a material term of rental agreement, (3) renter refusal to grant reasonable access to unit, (4) renter causing a nuisance or is using the unit for an illegal purpose, (5) owner move-in and (6) removal of property from rental market (Ellis Act). Renters have the right to complain about any rents charged in excess of the 3.0% limit by filing a petition with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA). Owners are subject to fines of up to $1,000 per day. This interim rent freeze and Just Cause ordinance is intended to last until a permanent rent control ordinance is developed over the next 6 months. However, the interim ordinance can be extended by the Board Supervisors. While the interim ordinance is only for unincorporated areas, it is the intent of the Board of Supervisors to strongly encourage all cities within Los Angeles County that do not currently have rent control to adopt a similar rent control ordinance. The Board of Supervisors will begin work on a permanent ordinance in January. We will continue to work to educate the Supervisors as to the serious harm that a permanent ordinance would cause our members and reasonable alternatives that could be adopted. City of Los Angeles Short-Term Rentals: On December 11, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in favor of new restrictions on short-term rentals which will take effect on July 1, 2019. Short-term rentals are defined as rentals less than 30 days in length. With this new ordinance, the City has legalized short-term rentals for a narrow category of owners. Specifically, owners that utilize the property as their “primary residence” for at least 6 months of the year are able to rent out their home on a short-term basis for a maximum of 120 days per year provided that they register as “hosts” with the City and pay an $89 annual registration fee. In addition, the host must collect from renters and pay to the City a per night surcharge to help offset the cost of enforcement and compliance with the new ordinance. Also, the host must have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and information on emergency exists in the home. Hosts may not register for or operate more than one home-sharing rental unit at a time in the City. Hosts may make a request to the Planning Department in order to rent their homes for more than 120 days as “extended home-sharing” by paying an additional fee of $850 and must prove that such additional time for home-sharing would not hurt the neighborhood. To qualify for extended home-sharing, the host must be registered as a host for at least 6 months or have hosted for at least 60 days and have no citations in the past 3 years (or pay an additional $8,500 to have their case reviewed). Home-sharing is not allowed in any units covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). Also, home-sharing is not allowed in any non-residential buildings or temporary structures (including tents, trailers and RVs). Renters in non-RSO units cannot home-share without the prior written consent of the rental housing owner. Penalties for not following the ordinance include fines of up to $2,000 per day or two times the nightly rent charge, whichever is greater. LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Janet Gagnon, Director, Government Affairs and External Relations