Culver City Council Moves to Adopt Mandatory Seismic Retrofit Ordinance

Industry News,

On Monday, September 13th, the Culver City Council voted unanimously to introduce a mandatory seismic retrofit ordinance, on first reading.  As a procedural matter, the ordinance must be voted on a second time prior to adoption. It is anticipated that the ordinance will be adopted at the September 27th City Council meeting.

The ordinance includes a process for property owner notification and 5-year compliance timeline, priority designations based on building size, and an appeals process. We encourage members with property in Culver City to review the full details of the ordinance. Please click on the button below to view the ordinance:

Since the onset of discussions in 2019, the Association has strongly advocated for the Council to recognize the significant cost to rental housing providers in completing seismic retrofit projects and to seek ways to alleviate the financial burden. These financial challenges have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, the City’s rent control ordinance, and astronomical increases in material and construction costs.

Seismic retrofitting advances a vital societal objective and one that is beneficial to the City and all its residents. Seismic retrofitting is also extremely expensive and the cost of which must not be placed solely upon the City’s property owners.

The City’s rent control ordinance allows rental housing providers to request to pass-through 50% of the cost of an eligible capital improvement project, amortized over the useful life of the improvement, with the aggregate cap of the pass-through costs not to exceed 3% of the renter’s rent.

In a letter submitted to the City Council prior to the meeting and during the meetings public comment, the Association urged the Council to eliminate the 3% cap and allow rental housing providers to pass-through a greater portion of the cost to renters.  In addition, we urged the City Council to continue to explore low-cost city financing options, institute some form of Building Permit/Plan Check fee waivers, fee reduction, and/or refund for seismic retrofit work as afforded in other cities such as Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Fremont. We also requested that the City provide additional time to property owners to complete seismic retrofit work to allow adequate time to recover from the severe financial impacts of the pandemic and for owners to obtain the services of reputable retrofitting companies.

During Council deliberations, the Council spoke to the safety objectives of seismic retrofitting and acknowledged the financial implications, particularly for the City’s smaller “Mom and Pop” housing providers. While the City Council did not make any amendments to the proposed ordinance or the City’s Rent Control ordinance pass-through provisions, the Council directed staff to explore financial incentives, fee waivers and/or reductions and return to the City Council by the end of the year.

We will continue to closely monitor this matter, advocate for our members interests and provide updates.

To view AAGLA’s letter to the Culver City Council, please click the button below: