LA County extends rent increase cap

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LA county supervisors extend tighter rent control

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors extended their 4 percent cap on rent increases for certain properties for another 6 months. The cap is now expected revert to its former level at the end of 2024, barring an additional extension.

Background

California’s Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act generally prohibits local jurisdictions from imposing rent control on multifamily housing that was first occupied after February 1, 1995.

LA County passed an ordinance that took effect April 1, 2020 that imposed an annual rent increase cap of 8 percent or less on properties in unincorporated areas of the county that were not exempted by the Costa Hawkings act. Allowable rent increases after that date are based on rents in place on September 11, 2018, the date on which the Board of Supervisors announced their intention to impose rent control. The actual allowable increase is based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U) and would be less than the 8 percent absolute cap if inflation is less than 8 percent.

The Board later passed an update to the ordinance that capped rent increases at 3 percent in 2023 and at 4 percent in the first 6 months of 2024.

Action

At the June 4, 2024 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, a new update to the Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protections Ordinance was passed that extended the 4 percent cap on rent increases from July 1 to December 31, 2024. The vote was 3 to 2 with supervisors Solis, Mitchell and Horvath voting in favor and supervisors Hahn and Barger opposed.

Those speaking in favor of the measure at the meeting were mostly tenants who believed that their rents were too high.

Opposition to the measure was mostly expressed through correspondence to the board. The correspondents were usually small landlords who stated that their costs were increasing at higher rates than the rent increase cap. They noted that they would be forced to reduce maintenance and may be forced to sell their rental properties if they could not raise rents to cover their costs. They also frequently cited the hardships they experienced during the COVID pandemic where they were not allowed to raise rents or evict tenants for non-payment.

Looking ahead

At the November 2024 election, Californians will vote on whether to lift the Costa Hawkins rent control ban. If the measure passes, look for jurisdictions like LA County to expand their rent-control regimes.