Earlier this year, The City of Los Angeles began the process of creating an ordinance that would seek to strengthen protections for tenants who report being harassed. The Housing and Community Investment Department was requested to review the tenant harassment ordinances of San Francisco, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and any other California city and report on the feasibility of adopting a similar ordinance in Los Angeles.
Specifically, the City of Santa Monica ordinance prohibits the following acts if they are done with the intent to harass:
- Taking away services provided in the lease (such as parking, laundry, or utilities)
- Entering the apartment without proper notice
- Using lies or intimidation intended to make a tenant move out
- Giving a “three-day notice” or other eviction notice that’s based on false charges, where the landlord does not intend to take the case to court
- Using fighting words or threatening bodily harm
- Refusing to do repairs that are required by law
- Intentionally disturbing a tenant’s peace and quiet
- Interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy
- Refusing to acknowledge receipt of a lawful rent payment
AAGLA does not support any Housing Provider who utilizes the above tactics not only because it is unethical but because it is all already illegal. Any new ordinance would likely duplicate existing state law and reiterate what is already codified in California Civil code. AAGLA’s main concern is housing providers being accused of harassment while conducting regular operations of the building. Trash trucks that sometimes come early, gardeners using leaf blowers, water shutoffs due to plumbing maintenance or benign contacting of a tenant as it relates to a variety of issues can be misconstrued.
As the City analyzes a possible ordinance, AAGLA will be advocating to ensure the City understands that there are big differences between operational inconveniences and harassment. We also urge housing providers and residents to always have clear communication with one another to avoid misunderstandings.