The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has been the voice of the Multifamily industry for 100 years! It is an association of owners, managers and suppliers who desire professional growth, operational advice, advocacy on behalf of the industry and individuals who seek to surround themselves with like minds. AAGLA is made of members who have a passion and interest in investment property and want to maintain the highest standards in the rental housing industry. AAGLA members house Southern California.
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA) was founded by Elizabeth McGonigal in 1917 when McGonigal and a handful of friends sold their rental properties in Long Beach and reinvested their money in Los Angeles rental units. McGonigal became the first AAGLA president of the newly formed association. Membership dues were $1 a year.
In 1921, the Los Angeles City Council enacted its first rent control ordinance (No. 41266) which became an early rallying cry for the organization as it restricted returns based on whether the apartments were furnished or not. The Apartment Journal declared “The Association, through its attorney, successfully fought the constitutionality of the ordinance through the courts of the State and subsequently the ordinance was declared null and void” (B.W. Schneider vs Lena Marcus and E.J. Stokes). Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court declared a rent control ordinance in the District of Columbia constitutional that same year.
McGonigal passed away in 1928 the same year AAGLA , in co-operation with USC started offering a course in Apartment House Management. The L.A. Apartment vacancy rate was 16.19%. Although little is known about the early years of the organization, AAGLA would continue to grow and flourish over the century.
In 1942, the United States Congress imposed the Emergency Price Control Act which regulated rents in defense areas due to war conditions. Some 600,000 rental units were required to register with the federal government. In 1945 over five million veterans ended their military service, the baby boom blossomed and housing production soared. Housing providers were faced with outdated rent limits set to counter wartime emergencies and over the next 5 years AAGLA worked to end wartime rent control. On July 28th, 1950 over 2,000 AAGLA members packed Los Angeles City Hall as a resolution passed 10-4 requesting the decontrolling of Los Angeles. On December 20, 1950, the federal rent control law was amended and rent control in Los Angeles was formally decontrolled.
In the years after winning the decontrol of Los Angeles, the apartment industry found itself under ever-increasing pressure as Los Angeles County, surrounding cities and the state legislature enacted new ordinances and statutes that regulated rental housing. No matter the issue, AAGLA was involved. Whether it was helping craft needed changes that would better the industry or opposing items that were unnecessarily burdensome, the new legislation was almost always accompanied by new liabilities and costs. Some of the obligations imposed over the years have included: on-street parking limits, a ban on shake shingle roofs, requiring shatter proof glass, smoke detectors, quick release window bars, swimming pool fencing, TV and telephone guest entry requirements, see-through openings in entry doors, on-site resident managers, notice requirements, security deposit limits and relocation assistance payments. Almost every year, some state or local legislator can be expected to introduce new requirements that must be met by providers.
Starting in the 1960’s and 70’s you could start to see members regularly attending City Council meetings throughout Los Angeles County. Legislative activities involving local governments have been handled through the Local Government Relations Committee which has consisted of active volunteer members looking to protect housing providers. Meanwhile AAGLA’s State Government Relations Committee has ensured AAGLA’s voice is heard in Sacramento.
In 1973 the AAGLA Board of Directors hired a gentleman named Howard Jarvis as their executive director. Jarvis was known to tell a story of how he became involved with battling excessive real estate taxation which would later become his legacy. He once accompanied an elderly widow to a tax appeal hearing. Despite her pleas for relief from oppressive taxation, she was denied help. From this experience, sparked the tax revolt.
Throughout 1977 and early 1978 Jarvis and his wife Estelle, criss crossed California working to garner support for a statewide tax relief initiative. Since both were political outsiders, few politicians anticipated they could succeed in gaining sufficient voter support for their anti-tax scheme. In 1978, Proposition 13 was backed by two-thirds of the state’s voters. Public support for a proposal that would save individuals from the grasp of the tax-man was unstoppable. This achievement landed Jarvis on the cover of Time Magazine on June 19, 1978. He immediately became a national celebrity and spokesman for the anti-tax movement. In 1980, Jarvis left AAGLA to found the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation but remained involved with AAGLA until his death in 1986.
In 1979, Rent Control once again reared it’s ugly head in the City of Los Angeles as the City Council voted 9-6 to impose a rent stabilization ordinance. Owners were allowed a 7% annual increase and vacancy decontrol was established. A full rent stabilization program was implemented which cost $7 per unit and it was estimated over 600,000 rental units would be subject to the new RSO. The constitutionality of the RSO was immediately challenged but the law was later upheld.
In 1985 with strong support from AAGLA, the California Legislature passed the Ellis Act which protected the right of rental property owners to go out of business and prohibits a government from compelling an owner to keep offering housing for rent. The Ellis Act was adopted in response to a California Supreme Court decision (Nash v. City of Santa Monica (37 Cal. 3d 97 (1984)). The City of Santa Monica would not grant a demolition permit to Jerome Nash. Nash wished to demolish his building and convert the property to another use rather than face a ruinous loss on his investment which he was incurring under Santa Monica’s restrictive Rent Control Ordinance.
In 1995, with strong support of AAGLA, the Costa-Hawkins act became law. Costa-Hawkins ended strict rent control laws in California for new construction. The new state statute required vacancy decontrol at the end of a tenancy when there was a voluntary quittance or in certain “just cause” evictions. Santa Monica, West Hollywood and other cities with strict rent control laws were forced to bring their ordinances into conformity with the state law. Costa-Hawkins has provided relief to tens of thousands of “Mom and Pop” housing providers.
In 2009, AAGLA became a chartered affiliate of the National Apartment Association ensuring members would be represented in Washington D.C. and in 2014 became a founding member of the California Rental Housing Association, amplifying our member’s voice throughout the State of California. Since 1917 through today, AAGLA has provided the opportunity for members to meet regularly with other rental property owners to share experiences of common problems and possible solutions learned from fellow professionals. As aspects of rental housing has changed so has AAGLA but we have remained at the forefront of multifamily issues for 100 years. For the next 100 years, AAGLA will continue to advocate, educate, support and communicate with our members and we look forward to you joining us as we advance our mission!