Renters and apartment owners must equally share the financial burden of earthquake retrofitting, the Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday, capping a more than year-long debate that allows the city to begin implementing the most sweeping mandatory seismic laws in the nation.
After many housing studies and heated meetings with landlord and tenant groups, city staff proposed a compromise that the City Council unanimously voted to move forward: Owners can pass half the retrofit costs to tenants through rent increases over a 10-year period, with a maximum increase of $38 per month.
“This is a deal that’s been a year in the making. And it’s the best deal that we could have,” said Councilman Gil Cedillo, the head of the City Council committee that mediated the plan. “It took a lot of work to get this done. Those meetings initially were not pleasant …. We’re very happy to get both groups together.”
This follows the city’s adoption of an ambitious law that requires an estimated 15,000 buildings across Los Angeles to be retrofitted. The law, signed in October by Mayor Eric Garcetti, caps decades of efforts to strengthen two types of older buildings that proved deadly in past earthquakes: brittle concrete buildings that dot L.A.’s major boulevards and wood-frame apartment complexes with weak first floors. About 65 people died when these types of buildings collapsed during temblors in 1971 and 1994.