Los Angeles County Takes Steps to Require Earthquake Retrofitting
At the February 28th Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted unanimously, without any discussion, in support of a motion by Supervisors Solis and Mitchell to create a new seismic retrofit ordinance for all high-rise, non-ductile concrete buildings and to conduct an inventory of all soft story residential property, including privately owned as well as County-owned properties. As we know, there are many soft story multifamily buildings that have parking underneath the living areas, so called “tuck under” parking. These older buildings are also some of the most affordable rental housing in Los Angeles County’s unincorporated areas as “naturally occurring affordable rental housing.” As we also know, independent, “mom-and-pop” rental housing owners are suffering under a huge financial burden of 3-years’ worth of challenging rent collections due to Los Angeles County’s eviction moratorium that has been in place and continues to exist through March 31, 2023.
Unfortunately, the Board refuses to admit that taking an inventory is the first step towards the creation of a seismic retrofit ordinance, which will ultimately add a greater financial burden on already struggling rental housing owners. This ordinance will force more small, independent owners to sell these older properties to developers only to see them to torn down and replaced with buildings with much higher returns on investment (ROIs), such as luxury condominiums. As a result, more long term renters will ultimately be displaced and forced to find new housing.
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) reached out to several of the Supervisors’ offices before the meeting to educate them on the serious burden that this new requirement would create for “mom-and-pop” owners as well as to long term renters. However, the Supervisors took the position that a mere inventory could do no harm. In response, AAGLA pointed out to the Supervisors that any inventory made public would pose immediate, substantial cost impacts by drastically increasing property insurance premiums and urged that the inventory be kept strictly confidential until and unless a draft ordinance is developed. Unfortunately, no such confidentiality requirement was included in the motion from Supervisors Solis and Mitchell, and none was offered as an amendment by the other Supervisors. During the meeting under public comment, AAGLA spoke against the motion and urged the Board to treat the results of any inventory for privately owned soft story residential properties strictly confidential.
The Director of the Department of Public Works and the Chief Executive Officer are due to report back to the Board within 90 days on a plan to conduct the inventory analysis, including a timeline for completion. AAGLA will continue to advocate for our members interests and provide updates as more information becomes.
Please click below to review the full details of the motion:
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions regarding your property or specific tenancies and the requirements of any local law changes described herein, please consult with an attorney.