County mulls temporary rent cap increase to tackle affordable housing crisis

The motion would cap increase at 3% but would last just 6 months if approved

Jul.July 30, 2018 02:00 PM
LA County Board of Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis and Los Angeles City Hall

Los Angeles County officials are considering a short-term solution to the long-term affordable housing problem: a cap on maximum rent increases on unincorporated areas.

An ordinance being debated would limit the amount a landlord could increase the annual rent at 3 percent. The ordinance would last for six months, during which time if a lease was up for renewal, the 3 percent figure would be the highest allowable, Urbanize reported. There would be an option to extend the six-month ordinance. Homes that are exempt from rent control would not be considered.

L.A. County Board of Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis are leading the push, recommending the interim ordinance be approved within 60 days. Other departments, including the Community Development Commission and the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, have been tapped to help draft the legislation.

More than 65 percent of the county is unincorporated, including pockets of Malibu, Topanga Canyon, Agoura and East Pasadena, according to government statistics.

Housing prices in the county have been rising for nearly a decade. Since 2010, housing prices have grown nearly four times as fast as incomes, according to the county’s motion. A recent report by the California Housing Partnership also found that more than 800,000 households qualify for affordable housing, yet there are fewer than 300,000 available across L.A. County.

Later this year, California residents will get the chance to vote on a measure that if passed, could possibly increase the number of units under rent control statewide.

The contentious measure would effectively repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state-level law that bars local governments from passing new rent control laws. [Urbanize] — Natalie Hoberman

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