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Earthquake Retrofitting Cost Could Fall Completely to Tenants

Damage to an apartment building from the 1994 Northridge earthquake (Photo by standardpixel via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Heads up if you live in one of these apartment buildings—if you thought the city or landlords would pay for earthquake retrofitting, think again.Los Angeles City Council member Bernard C. Parks has proposed exempting landlords from rent control laws to “incentivize retrofitting,” thereby passing all of the cost along to tenants “over a reasonable period of time,” the Los Angeles Times reports. As of now only half of the cost of major apartment building rehabilitations can be passed to tenants.

Though the city has known about the need to retrofit these buildings for years, landlords have said they can’t and shouldn’t have to pay for all of it. The city council also is looking into a state bond measure to help owners pay for the retrofitting.

In San Francisco, they already let apartment owners do this over a 20-year-period of rent increases to previously rent controlled buildings.

The 1994 Northridge quake damaged or destroyed 200 or so “soft-story” buildings, in which the structure is held up by columns over a carport, with 16 people killed in the destruction of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex.