On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on a proposal to limit predicted rent increases for specific properties conditional on LA’s rent-control law. Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez, who expressly desired additional time for further consideration, delayed the proposal during last week’s council meeting. The proposal was encouraged by the pending expiration of a pandemic-era rent freeze positioned on rent-stabilized units. The current rent freeze will terminate on January 31, 2024.

LA’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, adopted in 1979, ties rent increases to the consumer price index — a measure of inflation — limiting the acceptable increase for rent-controlled units. The council’s Housing and Homeless Committee voted 3-2 in favor of a revised proposal to limit rent increases after the freeze expires. The vote was held on November 1, and only council members John Lee and Monica Rodriguez voted against it.

On October 25, Soto-Martinez introduced a motion to extend the freeze on rent-controlled units. Councilman Bob Blumenfield amended the motion to urge the city attorney and Housing Department to draft a new ordinance to temporarily set rent hikes for rent-controlled units from February 1 to June 30, 2024. The new proposal that will be up for a vote on Tuesday has been drafted as a compromise. The plan permits 4% or 6% increases if a landlord covers gas and electricity costs. If approved, the increases will be calculated using a formula outlined in LA’s rent-control law in conjunction with the most recent consumer price index.

By utilizing the latest consumer price index, the formula would permit an increase of 4% as opposed to 7%, according to Blumenfield. He said, “So it would not allow for a rent freeze because legally we can’t do that, and the Supreme Court has said that our COVID-19 powers are over.” Blumenfield continued, “But it would not allow us to jump to 7%, which is based on the data.” In addition, the amended motion would instruct the Housing Department and the United to House LA Citizens Oversight Committee to develop programs assisting tenants and landlords. The amended motion would also seek to assist small housing providers with preserving and maintaining RSO units. Multiple landlords and tenants have supported terminating or extending the freeze.

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Previously, Casper Martin spoke on behalf of his parents, who own a six-unit, rent-controlled apartment building in the Pico-Robertson area. Martin informed the Housing and Homeless Committee that his parents adore being landlords but can’t continue if disallowed to enact at least a slight rent increase. Several other landlords have also cited financial concerns for ending the rent freeze. A 10th District resident and member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Amelia Kreski, 70, says she lives off her husband’s pension and cannot afford rent if it increases. Many other Angelenos have echoed Kreski’s concerns.

Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors slightly increased a cap on rent hikes permitted for rent-controlled units in unincorporated sections. The board imposed a 3% cap on rent increases last year, but it is set to expire at the end of 2022. The cap was extended until June 30, 2024, although the board agreed to raise the permissible rent hike to 4%.