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The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA landlords retrofitting 6K properties but thousands more still vulnerable: report

Around 5K buildings owners have not submitted retrofit plans to comply with the mandatory order, as Northridge quake’s 25th anniversary nears
January 15, 2019 09:00AM

A soft-story apartment building that collapsed on cars parked underneath it

The Jan. 17, 1994, Northridge earthquake destroyed nearly 50,000 buildings across Los Angeles and a quarter century later, a citywide effort to retrofit vulnerable buildings is progressing, though plenty of work remains.

Property owners have retrofitted around 1,500 vulnerable buildings since the city started its mandatory program in 2015, and work is underway at around 6,400 buildings citywide, according to Curbed. But owners of another 5,000 buildings haven’t yet submitted retrofitting plans, the first step in the process.

The city has sent orders to comply with the program to all of the 12,865 “soft-story” buildings that need the upgrades. There are another 1,500 or so larger concrete buildings that need retrofits, but owners have 25 years to complete that process and around 160 have already started it.

Retrofits can cost around $130,000 for a typical soft-story apartment building, but could run into the millions for larger concrete buildings. Some owners have simply sold off their vulnerable buildings instead retrofitting them.

The L.A. City Council allowed last year for landlords to pass along a portion of the costs of retrofitting to tenants, but other area cities have not. The West Hollywood City Council voted last year to bar landlords from charging such pass-along fees at the 750 vulnerable buildings in the city. [Curbed] — Dennis Lynch