Ordinance legalizing bootlegged units is far from perfect: landlords

The proposed law would require them to guarantee affordable housing for 55 years

TRD LOS ANGELES /
Apr.April 08, 2016 09:30 AM

In an extraordinarily rare meeting of the minds, L.A. tenant advocates and landlords both supported the idea of legalizing “bootlegged” apartments, the illegal spaces walled off in existing apartment units.

But a new amnesty ordinance backed by the city council contains a major deal-breaker for landlords, the L.A. Times reported. In order to legalize their apartments, landlords must keep a certain number of units in those buildings affordable for 55 years.

“No one is going to apply,” Harold Greenberg, a former landlord on the board of the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, told the Times. “It’s going to be like a lot of things that the housing department has — it sounds good, but no one’s going to take advantage of it.”

Some say that it may even be cheaper for landlords to be fined by city inspectors for operating illegal units than to guarantee affordable housing. Critics are also skeptical if the city actually has the ability to enforce the ordinance.

L.A. county continues to grapple with an affordable housing crisis. The region’s median rent grew 27 percent between 2000 and 2013 and yet household incomes for renters fell by 7 percent. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen


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