Despite LA’s plan to protect renters, some landlords find new ways to evict

Property owners can push rent-controlled tenants out through extensive, lengthy renovations on a property

May.May 14, 2019 03:00 PM
Landlords are encouraging evictions by undergoing renovation (Credit: iStock)
Landlords are encouraging evictions by undergoing renovation (Credit: iStock)

With rent prices rising and inventory at a premium, rent-stabilized apartments in Los Angeles are dwindling. Some landlords have gone to great lengths to push those rent-stabilized tenants out, in favor of market-rate renters.

And though laws exist to curtail such unfair evictions, other landlords are finding loopholes, according to the Los Angeles Times. Under the city’s “tenant habitability plan,” property owners are discovering they can encourage evictions by undertaking long renovations, the Times reported.

Apartment building owners are required to file the plan want to perform major renovation on the property. As part of the renovation work, the landlord must specify where the tenants will be relocated, if it’s necessary. Tenants can either remain in the building, stay at a hotel or temporarily move to a “comparable unit.”

Yet by pushing a tenant to move to a not-so-comparable unit, or dragging out renovations for longer than expected, landlords can push tenants out of their rent-stabilized units, according to the report.

The city’s tenant habitability plan program was established 14 years ago as a method to protect tenants from “constructive eviction,” where a landlord lets the property fall into disrepair, forcing the tenant to find another place to live.

City officials have been taking steps to close some of the loopholes. Recently, inspectors have started to visit the relocation units to ensure the new spaces are “comparable” to the ones the tenants were moved from. The city is also reviewing other evictions of rent-stabilized tenants to check for potentially inappropriate actions. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman

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