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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Council member calls for LA to “mirror” Bay Area with tenant protection policies

San Jose recently passed legislation banning no-cause evictions
By Cathaleen Chen | May 03, 2017 08:45AM

Council member Gil Cedillo

Los Angeles lawmakers are looking to their neighbors up north for ideas on how to better protect the city’s affordable units and their tenants.

In a motion filed April 19, Council member Gil Cedillo proposed a new series of affordability protection measures that mirror those already in place in the Bay Area, including legislation that would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants — even from non rent-stabilized units— without “just reason,” city documents show.

While Cedillo did not point to any specific legislation up north, multiple Bay Area municipalities have recently put in place measures to that end.

In San Jose, for instance, city lawmakers voted last week to ban no-cause evictions, requiring all landlords — including those that own housing facilities not subject to rent control — to cite one of 12 approved reasons if they wanted to terminate a tenancy. These causes included crime, property damage and non-payment.

In Pacifica, C.A., another temporary ordinance limits annual rent increases to the Bay Area’s consumer price index, capping them at 3.4 percent.

“The City of Los Angeles is experiencing a severe housing supply and affordability crisis that requires action by the city,” Cedillo wrote in the motion. He cited a recent report by the California Housing Partnership Corporation and Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing that found median rent in L.A. County had increased 28 percent since 2000, while median renter household income declined 8 percent when adjusted for inflation.

“The Bay area introduced several items to protect tenants, and now we’re asking the [city’s housing department] to mirror them,” a spokesperson for the Council member told The Real Deal.

Cedillo’s proposal, which will likely be up for a vote next month, is the latest in a push by L.A. lawmakers to protect the city’s affordable housing supply.

Last month, City Council passed two initiatives that placed restrictions on landlords who want to demolish rent-controlled apartments and required them to more explicitly inform the tenants of their rights to relocation assistance.

Cedillo is also behind an April amendment to the Ellis Act that tightened the rules for demolishing rent-controlled apartments. Previously, landlords who razed rent-controlled units to develop a site had to either ensure that the same number of the new units would be rent stabilized or reserve 20 percent of the new units for low-income households.

Under the new amendment, enacted unanimously by L.A. City Council, landlords can no longer choose: They must go with whichever option provides a higher number of affordable units.