L.A. Councilman Hopes to Keep Rent Low by Using Eminent Domain to Acquire Chinatown Apartments

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo is seen in 2018. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo is seen in 2018. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles leaders have relied on different strategies for slowing the growth in housing prices — limits on rent hikes in older buildings, new restrictions on Airbnb and incentives for developers who build affordable housing.

Now, City Councilman Gil Cedillo has another idea for keeping rents low in his district: Force a landlord in Chinatown to sell its building to the city.

On Friday, Cedillo announced plans for having the Board of Public Works — the agency that oversees sidewalk repairs, street repaving and the construction of bridges — use its power of eminent domain to acquire a 124-unit apartment building from landlord Thomas Botz.

Cedillo said the strategy is needed to keep 59 units of affordable housing inside the building, known as Hillside Villa, from switching over to market rate prices. A 30-year agreement to keep rents low between the property owners and city expired in 2018 — and attempts at reaching a new deal have fallen apart.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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