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Will Rent Hike Freeze Change How Landlords Make Your Home a Better Place to Live?

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Buildings built after 1978 aren't covered by rent control (Photo by Here in Van Nuys via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

Buildings built after 1978 aren't covered by rent control (Photo by Here in Van Nuys via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
If landlords can't raise your rent, by law, then they may not fix up the property, either.

The Los Angeles City Council has moved forward with a Rent Stabilization Ordinance, backed by Councilman Richard Alarcon, which would authorize a moratorium "that would prevent for up to six months apartment owners from levying the usual 3 percent annual rent increase at rent control units," explains the Los Angeles Business Journal.

The freeze on raising rent has caused some landlords to express in return that such a moratorium would force them to hold off on all maintenance and improvement projects, since the increased rent would have gone towards paying for such endeavors.

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Landlords who operate units in rent control buildings have been able to levy an annual increase each July between 3 and 8 percent, but less than or equal to the previous year's Consumer Price Index. Although the CPI has been less than 3 percent, backers of the moratorium are also looking into eliminating the 3 percent "floor" and having rent increases based solely on the previous year's CPI, which means increases as low as 1 percent.

Not all councilmembers are in favor of the moratorium or the long-range adjustments to rent control laws in Los Angeles. Councilman Tom LaBonge, who has the most rental units in his Council District (Alarcon has the fewest) opposes changing the ordinance, because he fears it will diminish the city's housing stock, and fears doing anything to hinder improvements on rental units will spell disaster for landlords and tenants.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn agrees with the moratorium, but backed an exemption that aims to protect the "mom and pop" landlords who own properties that have five or fewer rental units.

The Council is expected to discuss the moratorium and drafting the ordinance again on May 21st.