May 2019

36 MAY 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Local Advocacy Update As your new Director, Government Affairs & External Relations, I am enthusiastic about this opportunity to represent the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles and advocate on behalf of the rental housing industry. Over the past weeks, I have gotten up to speed and obtained a greater understanding of the political landscape, including the proliferation of rent control and other regulatory measures that will adversely impact housing providers. These proposals will only serve to force rental housing property owners out-of-business, particularly the small, “mom and pop” property owners, therefore, further depleting the supply of affordable housing in California, which only hurts everyone – owners and renters alike. It is critical that we work together to educate policymakers about our industry and the impact their regulatory proposals will have on rental property owners. Los Angeles County –Extension of Rent Freeze, Just Cause Eviction, and infrastructure for Permanent Rent Control On Tuesday, April 10th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted (4-1) in favor of extending the interim ordinance limiting rent increases in the unincorporated areas of the county to the end of 2019. Supervisor Barger was the only vote in opposition to the extension. The interim rent cap extension adopted limits rent increases to 3% and prohibits more than one rent increase within any 12-month period. In addition to extending the rent freeze, Board Supervisors expanded the applicability of “just cause” eviction requirements to all residential rental property, including single-family homes and condominiums. This means that when a property owner seeks to evict a renter, the owner will need to provide the specific reason for the eviction that falls within the list of permissible reasons, such as non-payment of rent or renter refusal to grant reasonable access to the unit. The purpose of the interim ordinance is to provide the Board with additional time needed to establish a permanent rent control ordinance. The extension lays the groundwork for a permanent rent control ordinance through directives for the creation of a Rent Review Board, and funding to institute a rental registry system, rental housing stock assessment, code enforcement plan, and other activities related to renter protections and rent stabilization. Key government stakeholders will be returning to the Board in 180 days with a draft ordinance establishing a Rent Review Board. The Rent Review Board, once established, will have oversight relative to any current or future rent regulation or renter protection ordinances adopted by the Board. City of Los Angeles Source of Income (a/k/a, Mandatory Section 8): On Wednesday, April 17th, the Los Angeles City Council voted to initiate the process of drafting an ordinance that would make it illegal for rental housing providers to refuse to rent or lease to an applicant merely on the basis of holding a housing voucher, including Section 8 vouchers administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The City Council’s basis for advancing the ordinance is their contention that rental housing providers have a bias against Section 8 voucher holders. However, a property owner’s reluctance to accept Section 8 housing vouchers is due to the poor administration of the Section 8 program itself and not the voucher recipients themselves. In the City of Los Angeles, administration of the Section 8 program is fraught with application processing and inspection delays that impede the rental process and deter property owner participation. This concern was voiced by our members who participated in a Listening Session that the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles hosted for HUD during October 2018. The Listening Session was one of 8 total Listening Sessions held by HUD throughout the U.S. Following that Listening Session, our Association provided the Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles and HUD with a list of 28 potential changes that could be made to improve the Section 8 voucher program. If a “source of income” ordinance is passed, property LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Danielle Leidner-Peretz, Esq., Director, Government Affairs & External Relations