Rental Freeze Decision in LA’s Council Delayed Amid Debate Over Rent-Control Policies
A proposed motion in the Los Angeles City Council that would have lowered the rent increase planned for all rent-controlled properties in Los Angeles that was authored by Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield of the 3d Council District was postponed last week. With renters facing a large rent increase set for February 2024, action is needed.
Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez’s original proposal of a six-month continuation of the rent freeze to allow for the City Council to have time to work on a solution for the current affordable housing crisis was not approved by members of the Housing Committee. Blumenfield’s proposed motion passed the Housing Department instead.
The motion was set for a vote before the full City Council last Wednesday, but since the motion’s author was absent the vote was delayed until next Tuesday’s meeting. This proposal would cap rental increases at 4% for rent-controlled properties and an additional 2% for such properties that the landlord pays for utilities for a total of 6%.
Unless the City Council agrees on a compromise for the rent increase, the next scheduled rent hike is set at 7%. Renters have been appreciative of the rental freeze which has made it possible for them to continue to pay rent during the pandemic and the resulting economic issues of inflation and difficulty in finding work.
Landlords contend that the rent freeze during the pandemic has been hard on them because of the prices of repairs and utilities have risen and have made it difficult for them financially. Nearly three-quarters of rental properties in Los Angeles are governed by rent control so this motion would affect a large portion of the renters and rental properties in the city.