Alarmed about people being “squeezed out” of their homes, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin wants to clamp down on rent increases for hundreds of thousands of tenants, tightening the rules under a long-standing city ordinance.
Decades ago, Los Angeles decided to limit how much rents could be hiked annually for tenants living in older buildings. Under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, annual increases are based on the consumer price index — a typical measure of inflation — and capped at 8%.
Even if there is little inflation, however, landlords can still increase rents by 3% a year. Tenant activists complain that in the aftermath of the recession, those hikes have routinely outpaced inflation. Bonin said other cities with rent control — including San Francisco and Santa Monica — do not allow the same minimum hikes.
In Los Angeles, tenants saw that their rents “still went up 3% while their wages and their incomes did not,” said Bonin, who represents Westside neighborhoods including Venice, Mar Vista and Pacific Palisades. Under a new proposal, Bonin wants to adjust those rules so that landlords can no longer boost rents by 3% even when inflation is much lower, eliminating that floor. His plan would cap annual increases at 60% of the consumer price index.