Three things to keep an eye on in LA’s housing market this year

Rent control laws could expand to newer buildings

The L.A. Tenants’ Union staged a protest outside L.A.’s Housing Department in December 2016.
The L.A. Tenants’ Union staged a protest outside L.A.’s Housing Department in December 2016.

Affordable housing in California, specifically Los Angeles, will continue to be a major sticking point for legislators and residents in the coming months. With a housing crisis at hand and a package of housing bills recently signed into law, this year is sure to see a number of housing-related topics play out as voters decide the fate of much-debated bills, according to the Los Angeles Times. Here’s a list of the three major issues to keep tabs in 2018.

1. Rent control

Advocates for tenant rights filed a possible 2018 ballot initiative to repeal Costa-Hawkins, a 1995 state law that prohibits rent caps on single-family homes and apartments built after that year.  The hearing is scheduled to take place on Jan. 11 in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. The laws barring rent control in Los Angeles are even stricter than in the rest of the state, as only buildings built before October 1978 in L.A. are allowed rent control.

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2. Proposition 13

Proposition 13, a 1978 law allowing homeowners’ property tax bills to be based on purchase date rather than current market value, could see a flurry of changes in the new year. For starters, GOP legislators are hoping for a ballot measure that would force any tax increase to receive two-thirds voter approval to pass. (Prop 13 also dictates how governments can raise revenues.) Secondly, the California Assn. of Realtors is pushing an initiative that would allow residents over the age of 55 to use their Prop 13 tax break when purchasing a new home. Lastly, a potential “split roll” initiative could take shape, meaning commercial and industrial properties would pay higher property tax bills than homes. Democrats in the state Senate will also likely be searching for solutions to fight the newly adopted federal tax bill.

3. The future of 2017’s housing laws

Last year saw one of the greatest comprehensive packages of housing bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. This year, while unlikely to prove as pivotal, will see how the highly debated bills play out and whether or not more housing measures make it to Brown’s desk. San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Budget, is searching for ways to incentivize local governments to increase housing construction. Democratic State Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego, who authored last year’s real estate transfer tax legislation, might also become the Senate’s next president.  [LAT] — Natalie Hoberman

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