Posted on 04/22/2017

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti continues to aggressively address Los Angeles’s housing affordability crisis with a new law he signed today to strengthen enforcement of the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The new legislation will preserve rent-stabilized units or require that new affordable housing units be built.

Landlords who tear down rent-controlled units under the state’s Ellis Act must now either replace them one-for-one with affordable units or ensure that 20% of new units are affordable — whichever number is higher.

This new law will also help prevent displacement of tenants by increasing regulation of both vacant and occupied rental units; requiring owners to re-start the Ellis process if withdrawn units are re-rented; tightening rules when units are demolished without necessary approvals; and requiring property owners to file annual reports.

It also expands relocation services for displaced tenants, and preserves RSO units by raising the threshold necessary to obtain an exemption for newly-built replacement units.

“We’re growing L.A.’s housing stock to meet our resident’s growing demand in every way possible -- including strengthening our stock of rent stabilized housing. But we need to make sure that it is done in a way that’s fair to all Angelenos by protecting people from being priced out of communities where they have invested so much of their lives,” said Mayor Garcetti. “The law I signed today is a great step in the right direction.”

"As Chair of Housing, I'd like to thank Mayor Garcetti for his commitment to protect tenant rights and affordable housing,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “The City Council approved my Ellis Act amendments to the RSO, which will close loopholes used to evict tenants and remove affordable housing units off the market. By preserving affordable housing, we will ensure that Los Angeles is a livable City."

"One of our goals, as elected leaders, must be addressing the loss of existing affordable housing to new, unaffordable development, and these amendments take an important step in that direction," said Councilmember Paul Koretz.

"Preserving affordable housing is how we preserve the character and inclusivity of our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Mike Bonin. "Strengthening our rent control rules to better protect affordable housing is good for families throughout Los Angeles."

“The City of Los Angeles must do everything in its power to protect our rent-controlled affordable housing stock,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “With every lost RSO unit, our friends, families and neighbors are potentially displaced and priced out of a difficult housing market. By strengthening these Ellis Act restrictions and RSO requirements, we are taking an important step forward in protecting Angelenos.”

Half of L.A. families live in an apartment covered by the RSO, which is designed to protect Angelenos from runaway rents and displacement from their neighborhoods.

In December 2015, Mayor Garcetti signed into law the Tenant Buyout Ordinance, which strengthened renters’ rights by ensuring that landlords inform residents of their relocation rights in the event of a tenant buyout. Previously, tenants could be offered a lump sum to vacate units, without a formal process to educate them about additional sums for relocation assistance to which they may have been entitled.

The ordinance required landlords to file buyout agreements with the City, so that staff can better monitor the process. It also permits renters to withdraw from the buyout agreement within 30 days.

While the City remains on track to meet Mayor Garcetti’s goal to build 100,000 new housing units by 2021, the Mayor is advancing additional policies to ensure equitable growth in the City’s housing supply, and is doubling down on the production and preservation of affordable housing developments dedicated to low-income Angelenos.