After hearing from the California Apartment Association and its members, the Los Angeles City Council’s housing committee took a definitive step away from prolonging the city’s rent freeze.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, committee members voted against a six-month extension of the moratorium on rent increases initially implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in place now for more than three years. The decision followed one hour of testimony during which housing providers significantly outnumbered supporters of the proposal.
The failed proposal to extend the rent freeze, aimed at providing the council more time to study potential changes to the city’s rent control formula, came from Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez and Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez.
Prior to the meeting, some small landlords highlighted their struggles under the existing rent freeze. “I am having a hard time paying the mortgage on the property. I bought it at a high price and a high-interest rate. I need to be able to raise the rents,” shared Daniel Flores in a comment reported by the Westside Current.
Rather than extending the freeze, the housing committee advanced a measure that will permit rent increases to recommence as of February 2024, albeit at the reduced cap of 4% instead of the 7% as dictated by the current rent stabilization ordinance, based on changes to the consumer price index.
Fred Sutton, CAA’s senior vice president of local public affairs, responded to the committee’s decision, stating, “We recognize the Los Angeles City Council’s move to end the rent increase freeze as a step forward. However, the new limit fails to consider the prolonged period — over three years — during which housing providers have been unable to adjust rents to keep pace with the rising costs of insurance, taxes, utilities, maintenance, and compliance with stringent state and city laws.”
The outcome of the committee’s vote now awaits a final decision from the full City Council. Rental housing providers are encouraged to remain alert to new developments as the proposed changes are still subject to further discussion and voting. CAA will continue to monitor the proceedings and inform its members of any updates.