March 2019 Issue

24 MARCH 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Local Advocacy Update Los Angeles County – Source of Income (a/k/a, Mandatory Section 8) The County of Los Angeles voted on January 15, 2019 to create a Source of Income ordinance for the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The ordinance would require that all rental housing providers accept Section 8 tenants and thereby force owners into the Section 8 program. If an owner rejects a tenant based on Section 8, then the owner would be subject to claims of discrimination and penalties. The County staff will now draft a detailed ordinance that will be brought back to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote in 120 days. We will continue to oppose the Source of Income ordinance until the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACOLA) makes substantial improvements to the Section 8 program, so that owners can effectively utilize it. The program itself needs to be fixed before more people are forced into it. City of Los Angeles RecycLA: On Wednesday, January 13, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council voted to support the proposed settlement with the private trash haulers regarding RecycLA. According to the report from the Los Angeles Sanitation department (LASAN), the settlement would have both City and the haulers sharing the cost of customer rebates for those customers that were charged access or distance fees for the blue recycle bins on or after February 2018 through June 2019. Going forward there will be no such charges for the blue bins. However, these additional charges will still exist for the black bins. The concept is that by not charging additional fees for the blue bins that it will encourage owners and renters to place more waste from the black bins into the recycling bins. Further, owners will receive up to 4 warnings before being charged any penalties for contamination of items in the blue bins above 20%. It will also delay a fee increase of 3% that was due this year and next year to defray costs of the food recycling program. Instead, the increase will be 3.5% in 2020 and 2021. There will also be an automatic 3% increase for overall cost of service in 2022. The Bureau of Public Works will vote on whether to ratify the settlement on Friday, February 15, 2019 assuming the Mayor signs off on the settlement. Source of Income (a/k/a, Mandatory Section 8): The Housing Committee for the City of Los Angeles met on January 23, 2019 and voted to hold this issue over until a date to be determined so that the Housing Agency of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) could consider potential changes to the current Section 8 program in order to make it less financially burdensome for small mom and pop owners to participate in. We have provided a list to the Housing Committee members of 28 potential changes that could be made to the program to improve it. As our members clearly expressed during the Listening Session that the Apartment Association hosted for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in October 2018, it is not a bias against Section 8 recipients that has been keeping mom and pop owners from utilizing the Section 8 program, but rather the extensive and fundamental flaws in the program as administered by HACLA. If a Source of Income ordinance is passed, mom and pop owners would be exposed to potential claims of discrimination if they reject a potential Section 8 tenant. If the owner accepts the Section 8 tenant, then they will be forced into the huge bureaucracy that is the Section 8 program as administered by HACLA. This involves long delays in receiving the first month’s rental payment as well as long delays for inspections, requested rent increases and no help from HACLA with problem Section 8 tenants. Such an ordinance will only result in more mom and pop rental housing providers being driven out of business and the City to lose more affordable rental housing. We will continue to oppose the Source of Income ordinance and encourage the City to fix the Section 8 program, so that it is a workable program for rental housing providers to voluntarily participate in. Anti-Tenant Harassment: The Housing Committee for the City of Los Angeles met on January 23, 2019 and voted to hold over this issue until a later date, so that the Housing and Community Investment Department of Los Angeles (HCIDLA) can further discuss the issue with owners and renters. This ordinance may apply to all rental housing owners and not only those under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO), which is currently being debated. The term “tenant harassment” is still to be defined but may LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Janet Gagnon, Director, Government Affairs and External Relations