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L.A. City Council to consider rent moratorium

May 21, 2010 |  9:59 am
The Los Angeles City Council on Friday is scheduled to consider an ordinance preventing the owners of thousands of apartments from imposing an optional 3% rent increase between now and Oct. 31. 

The proposed ordinance would impose a rent moratorium for buildings constructed before 1978 that have six or more units, a group that is governed by the city's rent-control law.

Owners of rent-controlled buildings with five units or fewer, a group some council members refer to as "mom-and-pop landlords," would be exempt. Housing officials said at least 200,000 of the city's 630,000 rent-controlled apartments would qualify for the exemption, which was proposed by Councilwoman Janice Hahn. 

On May 7, the council by a narrow 8-6 vote approved a measure asking City Atty. Carmen Trutanich to prepare the rent moratorium, which was proposed by Councilman Richard Alarcon.

Under the city's housing law, owners of rent-controlled properties are eligible to impose 3% rent increases on July 1. Opponents of the moratorium said they would ask the county to lower their taxes by reassessing their property values downward if the measure passes. Supporters pointed out that owners of rent-controlled buildings will still be allowed to pass various costs, including repairs, to tenants. 

Advocates on both sides started streaming into City Hall early in the morning.

-- Phil Willon

Photo: AP File