The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA Council members ask city to support tenant protection bill

New state proposal would require landlords to give tenants one year's notice before eviction
By Cathaleen Chen | April 24, 2017 05:30PM

State Rep. Richard Bloom and a Measure S ad

It’s been well over a month since Measure S was defeated, but concerns raised by the contentious ballot initiative are still fresh in the minds of L.A. politicians.

Two lawmakers, Council member Mike Bonin and Council member Bob Blumenfield, are asking the city to throw its weight behind a California state assembly bill amending the Ellis Act so that every tenant would receive a one-year notification prior to eviction.

Though a resolution by the City Council would be largely ceremonial, since the legislation is statewide, the lawmakers said it’s important for the council to take a stand, a spokesperson for Blumenfield told The Real Deal.

The state assembly bill, AB-982, will come up for vote in the next couple of weeks, according to a spokesperson for Rep. Richard Bloom, author of the proposed amendment.

“We’re pretty confident that the bill will go through,” the spokesperson said.

Under its current iteration, the Ellis Act requires landlords to give 120 days of notice to tenants being evicted under the law and extends a special one-year courtesy to disabled tenants and those over the age of 62. The 1985 law allows landlords to evict tenants from apartments that they plan to demolish or take off the rental market.

Between 2013 and 2014, evictions under the Ellis Act more than tripled in L.A., according to the resolution. In 2015 alone, over 1,000 units were removed from the rental market.

Tenant advocates were some of the most vocal supporters of Measure S, which aimed to suspend any commercial development if it required a land use change. They argued that creating new market-rate apartments wouldn’t solve the affordable housing crisis, especially while landlords were still evicting rent-stabilized tenants lawfully under the Ellis Act.

“You have to have more tenant protection policies,” tenant protection attorney Clemente Franco told TRD in February. “And every year, the city loses quite a number of rent-controlled units, while you get many folks displaced by increased rents.”