Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation authored by Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, designed to strengthen renter protections at a time when many COVID-era protections are expiring. The protections passed yesterday will only impact renters in the unincorporated portions of L.A. County, areas such as Marina del Rey that don’t have municipal governments, but the Supervisors hope they will be a model for cities throughout the county.

While everyone is in agreement that society should “end homelessness”, organizations such as LAHSA and other homeless services providers have had some success helping people get off the street. However, more people are becoming homeless than are getting off the street so a big part of the short- and long-term solution is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.

“As those who profit from renters find ways to increase their profits, we are meeting the moment with stronger protections that give renters a fighting chance,” said Horvath in a statement

“Rent stabilization measures for unincorporated communities are one additional way Los Angeles County is addressing the homelessness crisis with urgency and demonstrating what’s possible for all our cities — an essential partner in solving homelessness. Together, we must make every effort to take homelessness prevention seriously by tackling the issue of inflow head on.” 

The strengthened protections under the revised Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protections Ordinance, include:

  1. 1) Requiring that any tenant in the unincorporated areas of the County when presented with a voluntary buyout agreement be offered an amount equal to or greater than the relocation assistance amount a tenant would be entitled to under a no-fault eviction.
  2. 2) Clarifying that tenants have an affirmative defense to an unlawful detainer action should a landlord fail to provide a copy of the notice of termination or eviction to the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) as required under Section 8.52.090. 
  3. 3) Requiring that for any at-fault termination of tenancy, the termination notice must include the reason for eviction, including the date, place, witnesses and circumstances of concern.

Yesterday’s meeting also included a separate motion authored by Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Hilda Solis to create a “right to counsel” for all renters in L.A. County facing eviction. Between the creation process, the hearing process and the time needed to create enforcement for the ordinance, it could be 10 months to a year before any changes to the law regarding right to counsel are in effect, even though the proposal had unanimous support at yesterday’s meeting. The goal is to have “universal access” by the 2030-2031 fiscal year

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