Apartment Owners Fighting New LA Rent Laws

Apartment Owners Fighting New LA Rent Laws

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (“AAGLA”) filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles in order to stop LA’s enforcement of two renter protection ordinances:  Ordinance No. 187763 requiring at least one month of past due rent before the landlord initiates eviction proceedings, and Ordinance No. 187764, imposing substantial penalties on a landlord who increases rent in violation of either local or state rent stabilization rules or above a certain specified percentage.  While AAGLA asked for an immediate injunction to stop these Ordinances and argued in its lawsuit that LA does not have the authority under California laws to force landlords: to let tenants remain living on their property up to a month without paying rent, or to make landlords pay relocation costs if tenants don’t want to pay a higher rent, the judge hearing the matter would not issue an injunction (at least at this time).

Counsel for AAGLA stated about Ordinance 187763:  “This new requirement that a housing provider sit back and allow past due rent to accumulate in order to meet the City’s required financial threshold of what it constitutes as past due rent flies in the face of State Law which allows owners to serve 3-day notices and initiate legal proceedings to quickly recover rent owed after the due date to pay rent has passed.  Now owners may have to wait months or even years, at which point the past due rent will likely never be collectible and renters can now stay housed in violation of their lease agreement without recourse.  The City’s ordinance has clearly created a scenario where renters, not the property owners, can effectively establish the amount of rent they wish to pay.”  And as for Ordinance 1877764, while rental units such as newer construction, single family homes, and condominiums are exempted from price controls such as the at-issue rent stabilization ordinances, Ordinance 1877764 potentially imposes severe financial penalties on any owner who increases rent above specified limits on a rental unit that is exempt from rent control, if the renter then decides to relocate.

AAGLA’s Executive Director noted that Ordinance 1877764 protects individual renters, regardless of their wealth.  So, a renter living in a mansion in Bel Air is protected and unscrupulous renters can ‘string out’ rent payments for months or even years in some cases by ‘short-paying’ rent in increments of $50, $100 or more per month, and rental property owners will be left with little or no recourse whatsoever.  To make matters worse, once any portion of unpaid rent is past due more than 12-months, there are very few remedies under State Law to collect the aged, accumulated rental debt.

AAGLA is actively pursuing the matter and during 2020, AAGLA had also filed a lawsuit against LA making a constitutional challenge to LA’s moratoriums on evictions and on rent increases.  In addition, during March 2022, AAGLA filed a joint lawsuit against Los Angeles County seeking, among other relief, an Injunction against the enforcement of the County of Los Angeles’s residential eviction moratorium for which a preliminary injunction was granted then.  We will keep you updated as matters progress in this new Ordinance challenge.

We are ready to help you keep up on these matters.  Please feel free to contact Dawn at: dcoulson@eppscoulson.com for any questions.

Information contained in this Memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is likely considered advertising.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.

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