The Real Deal Los Angeles

AHF picks up fight to repeal law that limits rent control

If Costa Hawkins act is repealed, the city could label new units as rent control
October 24, 2017 09:00AM

Richard Bloom and Michael Weinstein with the Madison Hotel on skid row (Credit: Google Maps, AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

Despite a failed attempt in February, the fight to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act is on — and Los Angeles voters may have the final say.

ACCE Action, Eviction Defense Network and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the latter of which is led by outspoken activist Michael Weinstein, filed a proposed ballot initiative to expand the state’s rent control laws, Curbed reported. That involves the repeal of the polarizing Costa Hawkins act.

The initiative will require 365,880 valid voter signatures to get on the November 2018 ballot.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica tried to repeal the 1995 law in February, but put the bill on hold after receiving pushback from landlords and lobbyists. Instead, he chose to “park it in a committee” and see “what kind of compromise we can come up with,” according to Guy Strahl, a legislative director for Bloom who oversaw the bill.

Under current legislation, only units built prior to October 1978 can qualify for rent control.

Single-family houses, duplexes and condos can’t qualify, and landlords can also reset the cost of a unit once a tenant voluntarily moves out. That key word – “voluntarily” – is often a gray area as landlords seek to rid themselves of rent controlled tenants, and a more organized tenants’ rights movement forms in response.

Opponents of the repeal argue that it will only exacerbate the housing shortage by deterring new construction.

The AHF recently launched a new division focused on rent control after it failed to pass Measure S. Dubbed “Healthy Housing Foundation,” the entity already has plans to renovate and rent out Madison Hotel on Skid Row. [Curbed] Natalie Hoberman