The County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors unanimously passed two motions Tuesday to provide significant tenant protections for residents in unincorporated areas of the county.
The board’s action represents an extraordinary expansion of the safety net for county renter households.
The ordinance will limit annual rent increases, prohibit evictions without just cause, limit evictions arising from “owner move-ins,” and provide relocation assistance for eligible tenants evicted without fault.
The tenant protections effort will be led by the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs and the Los Angeles County Development Authority.
DCBA and LACDA have been directed by the Board to prepare a permanent rent stabilization ordinance for the unincorporated areas.
“Today, the Board of Supervisors took a number of critically important steps to protect 100,000 men, women and children who live and rent in unincorporated L.A. County,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
“Our temporary rent stabilization ordinance, which went into effect last year, has already protected thousands of renters from skyrocketing rents and possible eviction while guaranteeing landlords a fair right of return,” Kuehl said. “Today’s motion makes those protections permanent.”
The board also directed DCBA, in partnership with several County offices and departments, to establish the first phase of an eviction defense and prevention program. This will include legal representation for eligible tenants, eviction help centers in courthouses, and short-term rental assistance.
“Economic issues are the number one reason people become homeless. Many people are faced with astronomical rent increases and can’t afford lawyers to fight them. The rent stabilization motion, as well as the eviction defense motion, will help County residents maintain affordable homes in stable communities,” Kuehl said.
“(Tuesday’s) action makes this much-needed policy and administrative system permanent to ensure that renters are protected from unjust rent increases, while also making certain that landlords are able to get a return on their investment,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, co-author of the rent stabilization motion.
“For far too many, a dramatic rent increase directly leads to homelessness – and many renters in LA County’s unincorporated communities saw positive benefits from the interim ordinance,” Solis said. “However, making rent stabilization permanent and implementing eviction defense are just two tools in the toolbox to end homelessness – that’s why LA County is also working with our cities who are considering their own tenant protections. With our partners, we are focused on keeping our residents in their homes and off the streets.”
“There is a clear and unmistakable link between our unaffordable housing market and homeless crisis,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, co-author of the eviction defense motion. “It is our moral imperative to help stabilize the housing market and protect low-income renters where an unlawful eviction makes them vulnerable to losing the roof over their head. This is simply a matter of justice.”
“Skyrocketing rents are a huge factor in the housing crisis,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “We are moving forward with two vital initiatives that will both protect tenants from unexpected rent hikes and unreasonable evictions while still ensuring landlords get a reasonable return on their investment.”
“I applaud the board for its visionary leadership to stem the tide of evictions and disruptive displacements that lead to mental health trauma, reduced outcomes for children, and can lead to homelessness, said DCBA Director Joseph M. Nicchitta.
“I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues at LACDA, the County Homeless Initiative, the Public Defender and Alternate Public Defender, and our nonprofit partners to launch these initiatives. The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs is committed to the fair implementation of these programs for landlords and tenants alike,” Nicchitta said.
For more information about Los Angeles County’s interim rent stabilization ordinance and tenant protections, visit rent.lacounty.gov.
Reach DCBA’s Rent Stabilization Program by phone at 833-223-RENT (7368) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.