May 19, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles Challenges City’s Rent Freeze in Latest Legal Battle

AAGLA Files Lawsuit Over Pandemic-Driven Rent Regulations 

By Dolores Quintana

A non-profit association consisting of rental housing providers and residential property management professionals, The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA), has initiated another legal battle against the City of Los Angeles concerning the city’s pandemic rent and lease freeze, as reported by Commercial Observer. 

The recent lawsuit, filed in a California superior court, aims to overturn an ordinance that enforces a rent freeze and prohibits rate increases for approximately 624,000 residential units in L.A. that fall under the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The landlord group argues that the rent freeze, implemented in March 2020, violates the United States and California constitutions, as the RSO traditionally mandates annual increases and deprives its members of due process. 

The rent freeze, initially set in place during the local COVID-19 state of emergency, is still in effect until February 1, 2024, potentially lasting almost four years. However, the county of Los Angeles has recently been affected by a 32 percent increase in Covid infections, likely due to the Fourth of July Holiday. 

The L.A. city attorney’s office refrained from commenting on the ongoing litigation. Meanwhile, AAGLA expressed concerns about the financial burden the rent freeze has placed on landlords, with 75 percent of the city’s rental properties affected for an extended period during extreme inflation.

Cheryl Turner, president of the AAGLA board of directors and a Los Angeles-based attorney, stated, “As a result, many housing providers in Los Angeles have been forced to exit the rental business, liquidate retirement savings to keep up with rapidly rising costs, or in extreme instances are facing foreclosure proceedings.”

Daniel Yukelson, AAGLA Executive Director, emphasized that the cost of goods and services has risen even faster than the inflation rate. He pointed out that insurance costs escalated due to the California fires and the departure of major insurers, further compounding the challenges faced by landlords. Adding to the strain, the city’s imposed eviction moratorium over three years impacted rent collections significantly.

This is not the first legal challenge from AAGLA against the city’s policies. In March, the association filed a lawsuit to halt the enforcement of two recently passed renter protection ordinances regarding evictions and rent payments. Additionally, in December 2022, AAGLA and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association jointly filed a lawsuit against the city, contesting Measure ULA, which imposed a transfer tax on real estate sales or transfers exceeding $5 million.

Furthermore, AAGLA and the Apartment Owners Association of California collaborated on a joint lawsuit against L.A. County, successfully preventing the enforcement of its residential eviction moratorium in March 2022.

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