LA County passes temporary rent hike freeze

Around 50K units will be covered; that amount could increase if Costa-Hawkins is repealed

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors (Credit: iStock)
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors (Credit: iStock)

Los Angeles County has temporarily capped rent hikes at 3 percent at around 50,000 apartments, as prices continue to rise and officials struggle to adopt affordable housing measures.

The rent hike freeze, which will last six months, will affect unincorporated L.A. County.

It is meant to give the L.A. County Board of Supervisors times to decide on permanent rent caps. County staff have two months to draw up a proposed permanent ordinance recommended by a citizen panel last month, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Tuesday’s approval follows the board’s vote last week to temporarily cap rent hikes on mobile home spaces. 

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The 50,000 units in unincorporated L.A. County are the ones eligible for rent control under the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995. Costa-Hawkins is a statewide measure that limits rent control to units built before the year it was passed. That’s about 4 percent of apartments around the county.

County lawmakers could greatly expand rent control if voters repeal Costa-Hawkins through a referendum, Proposition 10, on the November ballot. A repeal would allow lawmakers around the state to pass new local rent control laws.

Critics of rent control, including the majority of the real estate community, argue it would devastate the multifamily market and would hurt the housing market for renters.

Tuesday’s 4-1 vote signals the political will, at least on the county level, to pass new limits on the amount rents can be increased. The lone dissenting supervisor, Kathryn Barger, said she would only support the measure if it allowed landlords to raise the rent on vacant units and put in place other protections for property owners.

Earlier this year, campaigners tried to put rent control initiatives on local ballots in three other L.A. jurisdictions: Pasadena, Long Beach, and Inglewood. That effort failed when they missed deadlines and fell short on the number of signatures needed. [LADN] – Dennis Lynch

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