32 JUNE 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Local Advocacy Update This month’s update reflects the discussions and issues that have advanced related to rent control, tenant relocation benefits, tenant anti-harassment, tenant / landlord mediation and mandatory seismic retrofitting proposed or passed ordinances in several local jurisdictions. These issues will continue to spread throughout cities across California, necessitating continued vigilance on the part of the multifamily rental housing industry to ensure that our voices and concerns are heard and addressed. 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 (“freezing”) rent increases for the unincorporated areas of the county through 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,” the 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, even a renter in a single-family home, 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 within 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. AAGLA is continuing discussions with Board Supervisors and staff to ensure that the concerns of rental housing providers are addressed. City of Los Angeles Tenant Anti-Harassment: Proposed Ordinance. On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the City of Los Angeles’ Housing Committeewere presentedwithupdated recommendations from the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) related to a proposal to draft an Anti- Tenant Harassment ordinance. The Committee voted to advance the proposal with the updated recommendations. The proposal will be put before the City Council who will direct the City Attorney to prepare a draft ordinance. The proposed ordinance will apply to all rental housing owners not only those under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The definition of the term “tenant harassment” is defined “as a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose (Code of Civil Procedure 527.6(b)(3).” The list of activities that fall within the scope of tenant harassment, include but are not limited to: “reducing or eliminating housing services required by a lease, contract or law, including the elimination of parking services if provided in the tenant’s lease or contract and interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy or requesting information that violates a tenant’s right to privacy including, but not limited to, residence or citizenship status or social security number, except as required by law or, in the case of social security number, for the purpose of obtaining information for the qualifications for a potential tenancy.” Violations could result in fines of up to $10,000 at the court’s discretion with additional penalties of up to $5,000 based on harassment against the elderly or disabled renters and possible jail time. Tenant Harassment is a serious matter and we recognize the importance of providing individuals with protections under the law. Under the proposed ordinance, however, LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Danielle Leidner-Peretz, Esq., Director, Government Affairs & External Relations