The LA County Supervisors voted to develop a strengthened enforcement code to apply to the more than 100,000 rental units in unincorporated LA County. The new enforcement process will increase compliance with existing health, safety, and welfare codes and provide additional leverage to renters and other agencies trying to ensure that rental units are maintained at a decent standard that does not jeopardize the health or safety of families who live in them.

The proposed ordinance will require that rental properties are inspected at least once every four years, and potentially more frequently, to check for compliance with all State and County health, safety, and welfare codes. The ordinance will also include a rent escrow program to resolve persistent health and safety issues whereby rent may be directly deposited in accounts to cover repair costs; it also provides for the County or nonprofits to take possession of housing that is repeatedly and egregiously out of compliance with state and local standards.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion, said, “Many property owners maintain their rental properties and comply with state and local standards, but unfortunately, some do not. Conditions are deplorable. Leaks go untended. Mold festers. Rat and roach infestations go untreated. The County needs stronger mechanisms to ensure that every renter in unincorporated Los Angeles has a healthy and safe place to live. That’s what the County’s new Rental Housing Habitability Program will do.”

“Having a home is one thing, having a quality home which meets health and safety standards for everyone is what this motion and future ordinance is aiming for,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Holly J. Mitchell. “This motion strengthens the County’s capacity and system in code enforcement to ensure quality housing of existing buildings.”