L.A. City Council motion seeks tougher penalties to deter house parties, including power and water shutoffs

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People party at a mansion in Beverly Crest before police responded to a shooting there on Aug. 4, 2020. (KTLA)

People party at a mansion in Beverly Crest before police responded to a shooting there on Aug. 4, 2020. (KTLA)

A new motion introduced by Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu on Wednesday seeks to crack down on house parties during the COVID-19 pandemic by threatening stiffer penalties, such as utility shutoffs.

Under the proposal, property owners could be penalized if they put the health of others in the community at risk by skirting safety rules and city law, including the party house ordinance, according to a news release from his office.

Ryu introduced the motion after a house party in Beverly Crest ended in a deadly shooting early Tuesday.

Los Angeles police officers had responded to the mansion, located on Mulholland Drive, hours earlier. But they did not break up the large gathering in part because it was at a private residence, according to LAPD. Investigators determined the home had been rented out.

“Despite a pandemic that has killed thousands in Los Angeles, some homeowners are choosing to put everyone at risk by renting out their homes to massive house parties,” Ryu said in the release. “This is irresponsible bordering on deadly – and it must be stopped.”

In addition to potentially shutting off water and power, the councilman’s motion could potentially levy other penalties against property owners, including pulling permits, and revoking or holding the certificate of occupancy.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office would be called on to draft an ordinance to determine how property owners would be held accountable for illegal gatherings, according to the motion.

Ryu also introduced the party house ordinance, which passed in 2018 and bans large, unruly gathering “which threatens or interferes with the public health, safety or welfare,” the release stated.

In unveiling the new motion, Ryu’s office noted a recent uptick of house parties — like the one in Beverly Crest that began Monday evening — despite public health orders in place barring large gatherings during the public health emergency.

“Whether it takes shutting off utilities or revoking their permits, we must do what it takes to shut down these parties,” Ryu said.

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