Today, the Board of Supervisors voted to extend a temporary rent stabilization ordinance through December 31, 2019. The ordinance, which was first approved last fall, established a 3% annual cap on rent increases with the base rent set as of September 11, 2018. The ordinance provides protections to renters in the LA County unincorporated areas which are home to approximately 1 million County residents, 200,000 of whom are renters protected by the ordinance. Since the Board first approved the ordinance, 500 renters have reached out to the County’s Department of Consumer and Business Affairs with concerns about rent increases.
Los Angeles is one of the most rent burdened counties in the country. A recent analysis by the real estate company Zillow indicates that median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in LA County has soared 56% since 2012, compared to the national rise of 23.8%. A 2017 Zillow study also determined that every 5% increase in rent will push another 2,000 renters into homelessness in Los Angeles.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion, said “Our housing market is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many families who live here. A 2018 UCLA study indicated that more than 2/3 of County residents favored laws to protect renters, and we are seeing that momentum being made official all over the County. Rent stabilization is the law in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and the City of Los Angeles, and recently, other cities have adopted rent stabilization or other measures to protect renters, including Glendale, Long Beach and Inglewood. Other cities are seriously discussing what’s needed. The County can only protect 10% of the local population, so I’m happy to see other cities taking up this important issue to stabilize communities and curb the number of people falling into homelessness due to skyrocketing rents.”
Recent studies, including analyses conducted at USC and UCLA, have demonstrated that rent stabilization policies have minimal if any negative consequences on the housing market and can be useful in stabilizing costs and communities.
“As LA County continues to use every tool in our toolbox to combat homelessness, an essential strategy is keeping residents in their homes. Countless residents in my district have experienced skyrocketing rental rates in their neighborhoods, pricing them out of their homes and leaving them few options for relief,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, who co-authored the motion. “By improving housing stability, we can help minimize disruption among our residents who are living paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford a rent increase.”
The Supervisors’ action today builds on recent County efforts to reduce homelessness through dozens of strategies including a significant expansion of street outreach, support services for individuals at risk of homelessness, and increased investment in affordable housing. In the first 18 months of the County’s Homeless Initiative, a total of 11,616 individuals and family members were permanently housed and more than 20,000 people entered interim housing.