34 JULY 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Local Advocacy Update This month has been an active month for local city councils with the advancement of the following discussions and/ or ordinances related to “right to counsel” in eviction proceedings, relocation fees, mandatory participation by rental housing providers in the Section 8 program, and implementation of rent freezes. We must continue to work together to advocate for the multifamily rental housing industry and continually raise our concerns by sending emails and attending city council meetings. I thank you in advance for being active and engaging members. City of Los Angeles Tenant Anti-Harassment: Proposed Ordinance. On Wednesday, May 8, 2019, the City of Los Angeles’ Housing Committee were presented with updated recommendations from the Los Angeles Housing + Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) related to a proposal to draft a Tenant Anti-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 subject to 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 a 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, excessive fines of up to $10,000 may be imposed. To further emphasize the disproportionate nature of the fines being proposed, West Hollywood adopted a similar ordinance with fines of $1,000. The City of Los Angeles is contemplating imposing fines that are 10-fold that amount. Source of Income (a/k/a, Mandatory Section 8). On Wednesday, June 12, 2019, the City of Los Angeles Housing Committee moved to adopt an ordinance, which if passed by the Los Angeles City Council would make it illegal for any rental housing provider of any type of housing accommodation, including an agent or employee, to engage in a range of unlawful activities towards recipients of Section 8 or any other rental housing vouchers, including but not limited to, refusing to rent or lease, serving notice of termination of tenancy, refusing to show a unit that is otherwise available, applying different terms or conditions, or indicating in an advertisement a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on a person’s source of income. In addition, the proposed ordinance includes civil liability for violations. A Court may also award an individual whose rights have been violated punitive damages in an amount no less than three times the amount of actual damages or three times the amount of one month’s rent paid for LOCAL GOVERNMENT UPDATE By Danielle Leidner-Peretz, Esq., Director, Government Affairs & External Relations