L.A. County Supervisors Vote 5-0 for Permanent Rent Control Measure Affecting 100,000 Tenants in Unincorporated Areas

Los Angeles County supervisors unanimously approved a measure Tuesday to stabilize rent rates and restrict evictions for thousands of tenants living in unincorporated areas of the county.

About 100,000 tenants will be affected by the extension of a rent stabilization ordinance that was first enacted late last year on a temporary basis. It caps rent increases exceeding 3% plus inflation per year, prohibits evictions by landlords “without just cause” and requires that tenants receive relocation payments when they are not at fault for an eviction. The cap on rent increases can exceed no more than 8%.

The measure passed Tuesday with a 5-0 vote makes those changes permanent. Supervisors will still have to approve the formal language of the proposal.

On a statewide level, advocates for affordable housing scored another win Tuesday as a bill to cap rent increases passed through the Senate. It’s one legislative hurdle overcome for a proposed law that would cap annual rent increases at 5% plus inflation.

Protesters rallied outside the downtown Los Angeles offices of the Board of Supervisors as the rent control ordinance faced a vote Tuesday, chanting and holding signs bearing a phrase in Spanish: “Tener un techo es un derecho,” which roughly translates to “having a roof is a right.”

“That’s one of the causes of homelessness — rent goes up. You can’t pay it. You’re kicked out,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who introduced the motion to make tenant protections permanent.

Once tenants are evicted over not being able to pay, Kuehl said, they often struggle to get together a deposit that usually includes two months’ worth of rent for a new place. Such a situation can leave people without housing altogether, she said.

The initial temporary version of the rent control ordinance first took effect on Dec. 20, 2018, and lasted for 180 days.

County supervisors also passed another motion in favor of tenants on Tuesday. Low-income tenants facing housing struggles such as a sudden eviction will be able to receive publicly funded legal services at five pilot sites around the county. That motion was introduced by Kuehl and fellow Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.