City Officials Want to Keep a Wary Eye on Your Growing Rent

City Officials Want to Keep a Wary Eye on Your Growing Rent
File photo by Joe Wolf/Flickr

Do you trust your landlord? When's the last time you got a full deposit back without some lame withholding excuse? Thought so.

It would appear that the city of Los Angeles doesn't trust your landlord, either.

In the midst of a housing crisis — UCLA says we have the least affordable rents in the nation — L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo is proposing that public servants track rents for older units each year to make sure landlords aren't imposing illegal increases.

Apartment buildings built in 1978 or earlier and not subject to major renovations are under the city's rent control limits, known as the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).

More than 600,000 units in L.A. are subject to rent control, which generally limits annual increases to 3 percent. Landlords can reset prices to market rates once someone moves out.

As you well know, rent has been skyrocketing in this town.

Some blame newer units that aren't subject to the ordinance. Others have accused landlords of using the state Ellis Act to legally evict tenants in the name of condominium conversions that never happen but which provide cover for illicit rent increases as new tenants move in.

The website Apartment List says L.A. rents are up 6.7 percent this year alone. Last year a Harvard report found that about one-third of L.A. renters pay half or more of their incomes for housing, which the university described as a rate that would cause severe financial burden.

In his proposal to track rent-control units' prices annually, Cedillo says the city needs to "help ensure that these units continue to be protected and kept affordable through adequate monitoring."

The would-be ordinance, which would require landlords of price-controlled buildings to include rent information with their annual city registrations, passed the City Council's Housing Committee yesterday and will head to the full council for a vote in the days to come, Cedillo's office told us.

"I want to thank my colleagues for their support in my efforts in creating a rent registry in the city of Los Angeles," Cedillo said. "This data will allow HCID [the Housing + Community Investment Department] to better monitor affordability in the estimated 623,000 RSO units and ensure prevention of any illegal rent increases."


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