County Introduces Motion of Concern
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors introduced a motion which all members should take note of. Supervisor Hilda Solis put forth a request for a report back to analyze the local government’s’ ability to regulate the private rental market and convene a Tenant Protections Working Group to provide recommendations as it relates to a host of tenant-landlord issues. This motion comes on the heels of a motion made by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl requesting a report back as to how the County may be able to augment eviction defense services such as legal representation and financial assistance. Both are exploratory motions and only apply to unincorporated territories but the early indications are cause for concern and if you operate in unincorporated areas you need to start paying attention.
AAGLA members were present during the motion introduction and requested inclusion in the process. Private rental owners need to ensure their voice is heard when these reports are released and that their input is taken seriously. Regulating the private rental market has shown to be time and again a misguided policy which leads to far more harm than perceived good. Also, as it relates to tenant-landlord issues, lawmakers need to be reminded that rental housing owners are not in the eviction business. Evictions are often the means of last resort and utilized in two scenarios, non payment of rent and community nuisance. Activists will usually point to just cause policies but as an LA Times article recently pointed out, just cause ordinances are increasingly becoming unjust leading to settlements and financial benefits to avoid costly and prolonged legal proceedings. This a disservice to the judicial process.
It is easy to paint housing providers as villains but it is up to operators to start redefining this narrative and push back against the negative press. Operating multifamily housing has been a tremendous way for individuals to build wealth for their families to ensure they themselves are not rent burdened. The vast majority of rental stock in LA county is operated by Mom and Pop providers who make tremendous sacrifices as they strive for financial freedom while providing a home for their fellow community members. Operating apartments is time consuming, labor intensive and fraught with risk. Multifamily operators invest in their local communities and add value to all facets of society. Housing providers are the solution to the affordability crises, not the causes of it.