AAGLA Files Lawsuit to Stop New L.A. Ordinances
Apartment Association of Greater L.A. Files Lawsuit Against the City of Los Angeles
Housing Providers File Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief Seeking a Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting the City of Los Angeles’ Enforcement of Illegal, So-Called Renter Protection Ordinances
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The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) announced on Friday that it had filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles seeking a writ of mandate and declaratory and injunctive relief to prohibit the City’s enforcement of two, recently passed, so-called renter protection ordinances. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, seeks to overturn the City’s (i) Ordinance No. 187763 requiring a financial threshold of past due rent (equal to one month’s fair market rent) be met prior to initiating eviction proceedings, and (ii) Ordinance No. 187764, which forces rental housing providers to pay substantial penalties should a rent increase on housing legally exempt from either local or state rent stabilization rules exceed a specified percentage.
Cheryl Turner, President of the AAGLA Board of Directors and a Los Angeles based attorney stated: “These new ordinances are clearly illegal under state law. Under State Law’s ‘Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act,’ rental units such as newer construction, single family homes, and condominiums are exempted from price controls such as rent stabilization ordinances, yet the City’s new Ordinance No. 1877764 potentially imposes severe financial penalties on any owner that increases rent above specified limits on a rental unit that is exempt from rent control, should the renter then decide to relocate.” Commenting specifically on Ordinance No. 187763, Ms. Turner stated: “This new requirement that a housing provider sit back and allow past due rent to accumulate in order to meet the City’s required financial threshold of what it constitutes as past due rent flies in the face of State Law which allows owners to serve 3-day notices and initiate legal proceedings to quickly recover rent owed after the due date to pay rent has passed. Now owners may have to wait months or even years, at which point the past due rent will likely never be collectible and renters can may now stay housed in violation of their lease agreement without recourse. The City’s ordinance has clearly created a scenario where renters, not the property owners, can effectively establish the amount of rent they wish to pay.”
AAGLA’s Executive Director, Daniel Yukelson, stated: “Now anyone who owns a condominium or single family home in the City of Los Angeles will be subjected to very complicated and potentially costly regulations should they decide to rent their properties temporarily or otherwise. In particular, the latest move by the City of Los Angeles under Ordinance No. 1877764 provides protection to the City’s wealthiest renters – often those who make far more income than the individuals providing them with their housing. A renter living in a mansion in Bel Air, for example, is now being given protections by the City and might receive thousands of dollars in unwarranted benefits.” Commenting specifically on Ordinance No. 187763 requiring that a financial threshold of past due rent be met prior to proceeding with an eviction, Yukelson stated: “Unscrupulous renters can merely ‘string out’ legally owed rent payments for months or even years in some cases by ‘short-paying’ rent in increments of $50, $100 or more per month, and rental property owners will be left ‘holding the bag’ with little or no recourse whatsoever. To make matters worse, once any portion of unpaid rent is past due more than 12-months, there are very few remedies under State Law to collect the aged, accumulated rental debt.”
During 2020, AAGLA had also filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of its members and the City’s housing providers making a constitutional challenge to the City’s moratoriums on evictions and on rent increases. In addition, during March 2022, AAGLA and the Apartment Owners Association of California (AOA) filed a joint lawsuit against Los Angeles County seeking, among other relief, an Injunction against the enforcement of the County of Los Angeles’s residential eviction moratorium for which a preliminary injunction was granted. Both of these matters are still pending.
Founded in 1917, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles seeks to promote the highest levels of professionalism within the multifamily rental housing industry. It provides a wide array of services and benefits that meet the needs of rental housing providers of all sizes, including educational seminars and member events, expert operational advice, and an extensive library of forms needed to successfully own and manage rental properties. The Association also serves as a powerful advocate and lobbyist for rental housing providers at the local, county, state, and federal levels of government. For more information, go to: www.aagla.org/legalfund.
A copy of the complaint filed is available here: [COMPLAINT]