The Los Angeles City Council housing committee recommended Wednesday that tenants of city rent-controlled units should get a four-month reprieve on rent increases as a result of L.A's high unemployment and stagnant economy.

“It's a very contentious issue and I think that the apartment owners — God bless 'em — need some form of an increase (but) their tenants are in distress,'' said Councilman Herb Wesson, chairman of the Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee.

Owners of rent-controlled residences were allowed under law to increase rents by three percent starting July 1. But the committee recommended to the council a temporary halt for three months, with an additional two-month extension possible.

Councilman Richard Alarcon has asked the council for an even more-generous rent-increase moratorium of one year. The council will take up the issue Friday.

-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.

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