LA wants to keep better track of its affordable housing

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The Los Angeles City Council passed a series of motions Wednesday aimed at protecting tenants and preserving the city’s precarious stock of affordable housing.

Councilmember Jose Huizar, who introduced the measures, pointed to rising rents in his district as evidence of a citywide housing crisis. “We have to do more than just increase the supply,” he told the council.

The motions direct city staff to create new systems to monitor affordable housing citywide and inform tenants about their rights as renters. Here are a few of the proposed reforms:

  • The creation of a public database tracking both the creation and loss of affordable housing units throughout the city
  • Councilmembers will receive immediate notification when landlords mass-evict tenants under California’s Ellis Act
  • A new rule requiring landlords to notify tenants of their eviction rights under the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance

The council also asked the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department to strategize in preparation for the potential loss of units kept affordable under temporary covenants.

HCID reports that between 2009 and 2015, 2,831 units have been set aside under such covenants. Once affordable restrictions on those units expire, they can be offered at market rate prices. Some older covenants are set to expire within the next five years, and one of Huizar’s motions suggests that the city could negotiate extensions with landlords to ensure they remain on the rental market at affordable prices.

Huizar has also called for a new ordinance protecting tenants from harassment tactics perpetrated by landlords eager to vacate rent-controlled units. The council will take up that issue during its Friday meeting.

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