LA supports a 4% cap on rent increases for stabilized units starting in February

LOS ANGELES, CA – August 4, 2022: City Hall will be illuminated Wednesday evening, August 4, in Los Angeles, California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

LA supports a 4% cap on rent increases for stabilized units starting in February

LA Politics, Homepage News

Julia Wick
Dorany Pineda

November 14, 2023

With the COVID-era freeze on rent increases set to expire at the end of January, the Los Angeles City Council signed a compromise proposal Tuesday that will allow landlords to raise rents by up to 4% next year.

reject calls from


tenant calls for an extension of the freeze


The plan will only apply to units covered by the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, which covers about three-quarters of all multifamily rental units in the city. (There is no cap on rent increases for other properties in the city.)

The proposal was approved on a 10-2 vote, although it must still be formally drafted by the city attorney and returned to the council for another vote.

to vote

before it is completed.

Council members Curren Price and Katy Yaroslavsky and Council President Paul Krekorian resigned because they own rental properties.

Under the measure, landlords who pay tenants’ utilities are allowed to increase rents by 6%. If the City Council had not approved Tuesday’s compromise, the allowable increases would have been higher: up to 7% as a base, or up to 9% if landlords pay utilities.

Tenant advocates had argued that allowing such a substantial rent increase could be catastrophic for renters on the margins, especially when the city has devoted enormous resources to housing vulnerable tenants. At Tuesday’s meeting, they expressed similar fears about the 4% increase.

Housing providers

pointed out

that they have not been able to raise rents for more than three years, at a time of soaring inflation and many other higher expenses.

Council members Traci Park and John Lee voted

against the measure

with Park raising concerns about the burden that housing providers, particularly homeowners, have had to bear during the pandemic.

Councilman Hugo Soto-Martnez, a progressive who joined the council in December and has been an outspoken advocate for tenants, had

proposed freeze

stabilized rents for another six months, but that plan failed to pass the council’s housing and homelessness committee last week.

The 4% cap was the result of a compromise proposed at committee by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who raised potential legal issues surrounding a continued freeze.

Tuesday’s meeting lasted into the afternoon, with the council debating policy on the floor for nearly an hour. Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez, a political ally of Soto-Martnez and one of the council’s most left-wing members, proposed two additional amendments. Both failed.

Hernandez’s first amendment, which garnered three votes, would have overturned Blumenfield’s compromise and frozen rent increases until the Housing Department studied the matter and the City Council took action.


report. Hernandez also proposed a 4% increase regardless of whether landlords pay utilities.

Councilman Tim McOsker, a more politically moderate councilor who also took office in December, introduced a separate proposal that would have distinguished between “small housing providers” that own 12 or fewer units and commercial landlords. McOsker proposed allowing small housing providers to increase rents by a maximum of 7%, while large landlords would be allowed a maximum of 4%. The main sticking point appeared to be a lack of data, with Los Angeles Housing Department general manager Ann Sewill saying the department would not be able to easily distinguish between the two categories. Just before the amendment was to be voted on, McOsker said he could tell it wouldn’t pass and withdrew it. Instead, he proposed a new amendment that would require the city attorney and the Housing Department to report on the change within 30 days. feasibility of his plan for small housing providers. The meeting, which was well into its fifth hour by then, descended into several minutes of procedural chaos over whether or not McOsker’s original amendment could be withdrawn, with one council member audibly telling an aide, “I of the drama.’ The council ultimately unanimously approved McOsker’s request for a report. LA County supervisors approve a 4% cap on rent increases through June

During public comments Iran Daniel, an Altadena resident who is a co-owner

a rent stabilized one

triplex in West Adams, urged council members to allow the maximum proposed rent increase.

“I’m a struggling actor. I am struck by the SAG[-AFTRA] The strike just ended and I had to take money from my own savings to pay the tenant who couldn’t.”

said Daniel

. “We urge you to allow the 7% rent increase so that we can give our tenants the properties they deserve, so that we can meet their needs, so that we can make ends meet. Our rents are not enough. ”

Sofia Mendoza, a tenant from South LA at the


Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment encouraged the council to extend the freeze for six months.

“I’m going to be hit hard because my husband is the only one who works… and sometimes the property owners raise the rent without moderation, and that would affect many of us, not just me,” she said in Spanish . “I ask you all to approve this motion.”

The city’s action follows a similar action taken by the province last week.

Los Angeles County supervisors have extended and slightly increased the soon-to-expire cap on rent increases. The county’s temporary 3% cap on annual rent increases in unincorporated areas was scheduled to expire in December.

But supervisors voted to raise the cap to 4% and extend it through June, sparing renters in unincorporated areas a dramatic rent increase for another six months. The cap applies to all rent-controlled units in unincorporated LA County


built before 1995, as well as all mobile homes.

Times writer Rebecca Ellis contributed to this report.


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