Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) proposed a new bill last week that will add additional protections under California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019 and lower the threshold property owners can increase rent.
Durazo held a news conference March 10 to promote Senate Bill 567—called the Homelessness Prevention Act—of which details are currently being finalized and have yet to be formally introduced.
The bill would cap, at 5 percent, how much property owners could raise rent each year.
Additionally, Durazo’s bill will “close the loopholes for landlords to evict people,” create enforcement and extend protections to renters of mobile and single-family homes.
California ended its state eviction moratorium last March, but some counties—including Los Angeles and Alameda—have continued to extend their own out of fear people would end up on the streets.
Durazo argues the bill will protect vulnerable renters from becoming homeless, should they be unable to pay rent due to any kind of hardship, not just related to COVID-19.
“This is an urgent humanitarian crisis,” Durazo said during the press conference. “As we drive around Los Angeles, we see tents under the freeways, on the sidewalks, and the storefronts. It’s become part of the city.”
Under current laws, property owners can’t increase rent by more than 5 percent plus the inflation rate, or 10 percent, whichever is lower.
Renter Protections a ‘Choking Noose’ on Landlords
The Los Angeles City Council already added additional renter protections in January and finalized more last month,permanently codifying temporary laws originally intended to help renters financially hit hard by the pandemic to stay afloat.
Such are placing a huge burden on small landlords, opponents argue, and lawsuits in Los Angeles are currently underway.
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles filed suit March 3 in Los Angeles Superior Court “to prohibit the City’s enforcement of two, recently passed, so-called renter protection ordinances,” according to the group.
Small property owner and founder of the Coalition of Small Rental Property Owners, Diane Robertson, told The Epoch Times in a statement that policies like Durazo’s are a “choking noose” of mom-and-pop landlords.
“This assault on mom-and-pop owners is an assault on the existing naturally occurring affordable housing. We will all suffer due to this clear imbalance of power and short-sightedness of our elected officials who are buoyed by renters who have made it clear that their ultimate goal is a cancellation of rent,” Robertson said. “It is the government’s responsibility to provide subsidized and/or free housing, not private property owners, and particularly not small owners who are just getting by themselves in many cases.”
Daniel Yukelson, executive director of the association, told The Epoch Times that Durazo’s bill is “problematic” and will further discourage small housing providers to stay in business in California.
“And we’ve experienced things like insurance rates going up, and cities are constantly raising fees, and so just the ratcheting down of allowable rent increases is going to put more people out of the business,” he said.
Durazo could not be reached for comment by press deadline.