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There is an apartment for rent at the corner of California Boulevard and Oakland Avenue in Pasadena. Landlords say government rents may force them to raise rents more often.
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Prominent landlord attorney Dennis Block stood before a crowd of more than 200 at a landlord trade show in Pasadena, laughingly boasting that he had “evicted more tenants than any other person on planet Earth.”
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Block said he was proud to say that America was founded on the right to private property. He then went on to talk about “the coming scourge of this new state rent control” and suggested some ways for landlords to avoid the rules, which from January 1 limit annual rent increases to 5% plus inflation and require “good reason”. produce.
His advice? Quickly issue no-fault eviction notices to tenants who pay low rent or make frivolous requests.
Blanca Duenas, left, and Maria Leon, right, with Los Angeles County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda L. He is singing after listening to the soloist. Tuesday morning press conference on the steps of the Hall of Administration ahead of the vote on the permanent rent control ordinance.
“You don’t have to be upset about it,” he said Wednesday at a trade show for the Apartment Assn. Greater Los Angeles representing landowners. “It’s not your fault, it’s the state legislators’ fault.”
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Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign Assembly Bill 1482 into law this month. And while advocates point to the possibility of stemming the flow of people priced out of their communities or onto the streets, landlords are grappling with what that means for them.
The rental fee law only covers buildings over 15 years old and applies to single-family homes if they are owned by corporations or other institutional investors. It expires in 2030 and doesn’t rule out tougher rent control rules in places like Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Action by landlords will go a long way to determine how effective the bill is in providing greater protections for renters in California’s unaffordable housing markets.
“Passive investment in single rental properties has become a huge burden and risk, so owners are turning to what people like Dennis are saying, hoping that there will be relief,” said Daniel Yukelson, executive director. apartment association. “The more the government tries to screw over rental property owners, the more they will find ways around these rules to protect their inherently large investments.”
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Today, landlords of uncontrolled units can tell long-term tenants to leave after 60 days without reason, as long as it doesn’t violate the lease. Starting Jan. 1, landlords covered by the bill will need just cause, such as nonpayment of rent or damage to the unit, to evict tenants who have lived in their units for at least a year.
According to Blok, the upcoming rent increase should be canceled in January. But there is no rule similar to the rules for copying for a new reason. As a result, he explained, it would be possible to get rid of low-paying tenants and raise rents significantly — landlords can charge whatever they want for vacant units — if the eviction notice is completed by Jan. 1.
The controversial attorney recently made similar comments in another showdown, email blasts and social media posts.
Yukelson said he would not recommend evicting tenants quickly to circumvent the new law, saying it would “look bad” on the industry. He said he didn’t know Block would give that kind of advice at the show; The lawyer was invited, Yukelson said, because he was “a good draw and a good speaker.”
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In an interview, Block said his proposals are legal and help owners increase their income, “which is why you buy income-generating properties.”
Landlords are often viewed as a monolith. But there are different types, each of which has its own investment strategies.
There are big Wall Street companies that have been buying up single-family homes and renting them out, sparking a wave of foreclosures after the financial crisis.
There are also mom-and-pop investors who have day jobs and own multiple buildings for retirement.
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Yukelson and others in the industry say many tiny house owners provide relatively affordable housing and don’t always raise rents. But they fear that landlords will start raising rents more often, possibly to the highest level allowed, once owners realize there is no room for large increases.
A “for rent” sign outside of apartments in Sacramento. Rental markets across the state have seen prices largely out of reach.
“‘I’m going to give up this money this year’ is a different decision than ‘I’m going to give up this money forever,'” said Russell Lowry, executive director of the California Rental Housing Assn.
In interviews, some small apartment owners said the bill would not change anything. But at the Pasadena trade show, the two owners said they plan to seek Block’s advice. One said he wanted to get rid of a “problem” tenant before the new rules gave the man more power to contest the charges.
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Another self-proclaimed “big mom and pop” with “several hundred” units in Southern California wanted to remove low-rent residents to get higher prices.
“I must,” he said. “If I didn’t do it, I’d be sabotaging myself and next year they’re going to put another cap and … not 5%, it’s 3%.”
The law was presented not as a final solution to the affordability crisis, but as a way to stop the bleeding from sudden double- and triple-digit percentage growth, and as a no-fault eviction that would clear all the buildings for high-income households.
Indeed, such a cap would have prevented large marches in some areas. In Boyle Heights, for example, median rents for unsupervised units rose 20% in 2017 and 11% a year earlier, according to a study by Berkeley’s Turner Center for Housing Innovation.
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However, an analysis of 10 California communities over a five-year period found that most average annual rent increases were below 8%, which is likely to be the limit for most years under the new law, given recent inflation rates.
Not everyone in the real estate industry opposed the state bill. California Apartment Assn. remained neutral and hopes it will push for more stringent regulations. Debra Carlton, the association’s senior vice president of community affairs, said the group wants to do “our part” to improve accessibility while limiting negative impacts on property owners.
Carlton, like Block’s, called the proposals, which would see landlords quickly evict low-rent tenants, “crazy.” He said fears about a state law that would allow reasonable profits and stop “cleansing” are misguided.
He said many property owners were able to absorb the costs and make a decent profit with growth below the new cap.
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The bill “should not cause a sudden change in the way you operate,” he said.
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), center, is congratulated after a measure to limit rent increases was approved in the Assembly last month.
The bill’s author, Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), said the evictions that would have occurred when the law went into effect could not be reversed because the bill is tied to rent increases. He said the legislation is needed because too many landlords are pushing out low-income tenants to charge higher rents during the current real estate boom.
“Stopping illegal evictions is the real purpose of this bill,” he said. “From January 1, this practice will end.”
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Landlords can evict tenants for “substantial” renovations if they pay a moving fee equal to one month’s rent to those leaving. But repairs cannot be as cosmetic as painting.
Miles Williams of Southland Property Management, which manages units in the Long Beach and Downey areas, said landlords can say goodbye to a tenant once a lease is up. He predicted the new law would lead to stricter rules on who his company rents to in the first place.
“Maybe raising the credit score criteria, maybe raising the income criteria, looking deeper into the rental history,” he said.
Steve Battaglia, who owns three small properties on the Central Coast, said he doesn’t plan to file 60-day notices before the deadline because it’s close to market value. But he said he will be aggressive with growth to maintain the value of his property. It will eventually need refinancing and may sell one day. During this process, the current rent level becomes more important, he said, because banks and buyers know there are limits to the increase.
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“I … push it as hard as I can, so I
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