The Los Angeles City Housing Committee had a hearing on 6/21 to review the expansion of a Just Cause Eviction Ordinance to non-rent controlled buildings in Los Angeles. We thank all the AAGLA members who wrote letters and attended the hearing. Despite calls from AAGLA in opposition, the Committee requested a report back from the housing department in 60 days to see how they could expand Just Cause Eviction.
On the surface Just Cause sounds reasonable but in practice there are elements that are very hard to prove, particularly as it relates to a nuisance. Whether it is an individual that causes a disturbance to the community through noise, aggressive behavior, refuses to follow building rules or actually causes damage to the building itself; Tenant witnesses are needed in court for testimony and this is often not realistic for a variety of reasons and particularly if there is a criminal element in the building. People do not come forward and do not want to be put in that position to confront a neighbor and in practicality the housing provider has a very difficult time to prove the existence of the nuisance.
Already, it can take up to six months to enforce an unlawful detainer for non payment of rent which is the most easy to prove. Just cause is becoming increasingly unjust and a recent LA times article highlighted this issue. Expanding Just Cause will exacerbate the already jammed court system which is fraught with frivolous delays and will promote a policy that causes real problems in practice.
Many AAGLA members currently operate under Just Cause and we urge members to contact the committee and requesting they oppose the expansion of Just Cause as there are major issues that block an owner’s ability to operate a building. Rental Property owners are not in the eviction business and do everything they can to keep and maintain tenants.
Reach out and let the Councilmembers know, rental property owners are not in the eviction business and that effective and efficient tools are needed by housing providers to ensure communities are safe and enjoyable for all residents.