Hi Kari, I am a landlord in both Boyle Heights and Long Beach. I have heard rumors that Long Beach is now going to be subject to the Rent Control Ordinance. Is there anything I can do?
Hi Richard! Thank you for such a great question! The City of Long Beach recently embarked on the journey toward rent control with the passage of the Proactive Rental Housing Inspection Program Ordinance (PRHIP). Much like LA’s SCEP (Systematic Code Enforcement Program) this ordinance empowers city employees to subjectively inspect housing units beyond the requirements of the habitability code listed in Section 1942.5 of the California Civil Code.
Is Rent Control Coming to Long Beach?
Owners are being cited for cosmetic defects on counters and bathtubs, damaged wallboard in finished garages and cracked caulking and grout where no leaks occur. One owner was mandated to repaint his entire building because of a small spot of peeling paint on the inside eave of the roof! Another owner was cited for non-permitted window replacements done four years before she purchased the building.
Such inspections with the resultant $1000 a day violations per incident give rise to programs like REAP (Rent Escrow Account Program). At this point renters receive a rent reduction (up to 50 percent) and the remaining rent money no longer goes to the owner, yet the owner is required to fix violations and continue the operating costs of the building.
It is easy to see that owners in REAP type programs lose their property. New buyers have difficulty getting financing and the building often becomes targeted for demolition or eminent domain. Renters in these buildings can become part of the growing homeless population. Simultaneously with these ordinances, there is a call for just cause eviction laws. Eviction controls sound good but they become the “silent killers” to affordable housing.
With just cause evictions, housing providers’ hands become tied when they want to evict bad actors in their buildings. No longer can landlords evict criminals, gangbangers, hoarders, water wasters or pedophiles who move in with friends. Removing batterers in domestic violence cases also becomes challenging.
When owners lose their right to evict bad neighbors, the good tenants move out and the building becomes a magnet for criminal activity. Deterioration sets in, neighborhoods decline and building and community value is gone.
This is the road to rent control and with each step along the way owners face fees, fines, licensing costs, inspection and re-inspection charges. It is a “slippery slope” toward deterioration of the housing industry and the slow creeping intrusion of government regulation into property ownership.
The road to rent control and rent control itself is a loselose proposition for everyone--owners, renters and the community. So, although Long Beach is not facing rent control per se, today, the ordinances that Long Beach leaders are looking at are headed in that direction.
Richard, you asked what you could do about this situation. I encourage you to exercise your political muscle and make your voice heard. You must contact the city Councilmembers in the districts where your properties are located. Call, email, fax these elected officials or set meetings with them to discuss your concerns. Tell them you have invested in Long Beach and the passage of such ordinances will destroy your property, the rental community and the entire city. Share with them the experiences you have had in Los Angeles and tell them that you are looking for other, more business friendly cities in which to buy property.
The risk is real. And the time is now!
Thanks again for your question, Richard! As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at www.GetSky.net