YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Westside Digest

W. Hollywood : Landlords Protest Ruling

October 19, 1989

West Hollywood landlords raucously protested a City Council decision to further tighten rent control ordinances in the city with cries of "Heil Hitler!" and "This is war!" One building owner was thrown out of the meeting Monday for interrupting the council's deliberations.

On a 4-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance that would increase from two to five years the period between vacancy rent increases.

Under current law, as long as a tenant has lived in a unit for at least two years, the landlord may increase the rent on the unit by 10% when the tenant moves out. Under the new ordinance, expected to gain final council approval within the next month, the tenant must have lived in the unit for at least five years before the increase will be allowed.

The council argued that the current limit gives landlords a reason to seek out relatively transient tenants to take advantage of the rent increase every two years, which makes it more difficult for traditionally long-term residents, such as seniors, to find housing.

But furious landlords, some 25 of whom spoke against the ordinance, said the new rule could mean building owners will not be able to raise rents for many years--such as when one tenant vacates after four years, and the next stays for 10. Because costs are going up, they said, the condition of the apartments and houses will suffer.

"What this boils down to is tyranny--rampant governmental power," shouted Joel Weissman, who was later ejected from the meeting by Mayor Abbe Land.

In voting for the ordinance, Councilman John Heilman suggested that the city staff work out ways to grant exceptions to the new rule in some cases, such as when individual landlords show a long-term pattern of charging low rents and when tenants damage units heavily.

Los Angeles Times Articles