L.A. Housing and Homelessness Committee Pursues Creation of a Small Housing Provider Assistance Prog
On March 1st, the Los Angeles Housing and Homelessness Committee unanimously approved a motion by City Council Member Monica Rodriquez and Vice Chair Bob Blumenfield (as well as Council Members Traci Park and Tim McOsker) and seconded by Council Member John Lee to create a new “Small Housing Provider Assistance Program” with a minimum of $10 million for the new fund.
Please click below to view the full details of the motion:
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) applauds the Committee for supporting the creation of a new City rental subsidy to pay for prior, past due rent owed by renters due to Los Angeles City’s and the County’s eviction moratoriums that have been imposed for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, the fund as currently envisioned falls woefully short of the total rent that is owed to independent, mom-and-pop rental housing providers in the City of Los Angeles. Rental housing providers are owed significant amounts of prior rent far exceeding $10 million by renters who have not paid for the housing they received from March 1, 2020 through March 31, 2023. As stated in the motion, the City provided renters with over $1.6 billion rental assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet that still was only a small portion of the rent owed and is still outstanding. Thus, a fund for $10 million is literally a tiny fraction (.0625%) of what is needed.
In fact, another motion on the same agenda proposed that the City spend at least $34.6 million annually to pay for private attorneys to fight legal evictions (“right to counsel”). As statistics show, the vast majority of all evictions are due to the simple fact that the renter failed to pay the rent. Thus, a far better use of taxpayer money would be to pay the rent that is owed by expanding the proposed rent relief fund and by so doing avoid any eviction process or attorneys’ fees. By taking such action, the City would be preserving a positive relationship between renters and rental housing owners as well as avoiding the stress, uncertainty and costs associated with an eviction for both parties. At a minimum, the City should allocate far greater funding to this new rent relief fund than to the right to counsel to drastically reduce the total number of eviction proceedings.
Further, as currently structured, the proposed fund would exclude a majority of small rental housing providers throughout the City due to is extremely narrow definition of what constitutes small owners as being those with “no more than four dwelling units”. According to CoStar (a third-party aggregator of rental housing data) of the 27,483 existing multifamily properties tracked by CoStar in the City of Los Angeles, only 4,903 (less than 18%) are properties with four or fewer units. In contrast, 18,184 (66%) are properties with five to twenty units. Renters that did not pay their rent during COVID-19 exist in all size properties and even a 20-unit building is still considered small and is typically owned by individuals (a/k/a, "natural persons”) rather than corporations. This fund should help all renters to eliminate the back rent that they still owe in order to avoid evictions and relocation. It should also help all small rental housing owners, many of whom are now being forced into selling their properties to corporations or developers that will replace these rental properties with new non-rental uses with greater returns on investment such as luxury condominiums or hotels.
The motion will now head to the full City Council for further consideration. We urge our members in Los Angeles City to call and email their City Council Members to support the expansion of this fund in both amount of funding and size of rental housing providers that are able to participate in it. AAGLA will continue to advocate for our members' interests and provide updates as additional information becomes available.
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