Home>Articles>L.A. County Board Of Supervisors Vote on Stricter Rent Caps in County Unincorporated Areas

L.A. County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

L.A. County Board Of Supervisors Vote on Stricter Rent Caps in County Unincorporated Areas

‘This is anything but fair and is going to hurt us a lot more than if the old amount stays in place’

By Evan Symon, June 6, 2024 1:34 pm

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this week to put into effect even stricter rent caps in place in unincorporated parts of the county, making them one step closer to setting rent increases to only 3% each year.

Rent control currently varies widely across the state. The baseline rent control is currently set by AB 1482, a bill that came into effect in January 2020, setting rent control statewide at 5% plus local inflation. In 2020, that meant rent increases could be as much as 8.3% in Los Angeles County and 9% in San Francisco, with buildings built within the last 15 years being exempted. However, this is currently broken up by county and city laws, with many following the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and limiting more advanced rent control to units built before 1995.

In Los Angeles County alone, it can mean a patchwork of different rent caps. In Culver City, rent caps are currently at 4%. Pasadena is only at 2.75% for rental units built before 1995. Santa Monica is at 2.8% for units built before 1979. In the City of Los Angeles, rent control is at 4% for those covered under the rent control law, with another 1% tacked on if the landlord pays gas and another 1% if they pay electric. However, in general, Los Angeles only protects non-condo and house rental units built before 1978 with rent control, with rent hikes being based on fluctuation, meaning rent can still go up as high as 8% under rent control.

In general, older buildings tend to have much lower rent increases than newer ones, with most in the latter set by AB 1482. Out in unincorporated L.A. County, rent increases currently have a cap of 4%, but with the L.A. County ordinance, still allowing a rent cap to be as much as 8% a year. However, unincorporated L.A. County was facing a slight bump to 4.275% in July unless action was taken. Supervisor Holly Mitchell began a new proposal. Not only did it halt the increase, but Mitchell proposed that increases should only be limited to 60% of the annual change in the consumer price index and go no higher annually than 3%, with smaller landlords who own less than 10 units being allotted a 4% increase.

Mitchell said that the proposal was meant to counter huge rent increases and homelessness.

“We all know that costs have gone up for everybody,” said Mitchell this week. “Insurance cost increases are astronomical across the state, particularly here in L.A. County. And we also know that double-digit rent increases for tenants are untenable and lead to increased houselessness. We know today when mom and pops lose their property for a variety of reasons, there are not mom and pop owners stepping up to make the purchases. It’s corporate entities that are buying those properties. And when that happens, affordability goes out the window.”

“My goal — always — is to slow the tide of the corporatization of rental property ownership across L.A. County. When that happens, affordability goes out the window.”

Supervisor Hilda Solis added, “What I am very worried about is that we’re going to again exacerbate homelessness. Many families, especially in places like East L.A., you’ve got three and four families living together, maybe in a two-bedroom unit. That’s deplorable.”

Down to 3%

While Mitchell had many supervisors on her side, as well as many tenants in areas covered like East L.A. who have been facing higher costs in recent years, other supervisors and rental organizations opposed the motion. They said that not only would it hurt many smaller landlords, but that building more units was the obvious solution to keep people housed, as slow construction inflated rents. They also pointed out that rent control would still be in effect in the area in any case.

“We are not going to solve the affordability crisis by layering different caps,” noted Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “We need to continue to streamline and expedite our review and entitlement processes to build housing in a timely manner. We’ve once again put these struggles on the back of landlords.”

“The proposal is draconian,” the California Apartment Association said. “Rather than alleviating intense regulatory pressures, an unworkable policy is being considered. This will exacerbate the housing crisis by discouraging investment in new and existing rental housing and ultimately hurt all residents.”

The proposal ended up narrowly passing this week in a 3-2 vote. Mitchell, Solis, and Supervisor Lindsey Horvath were in favor, with Barger and Supervisor Janice Hahn against it. However, the vote on Tuesday isn’t final. The Department of Consumer and Business Affairs are to go over the proposal, prompting another vote from the Board soon. The final vote is expected to have the same ratio in favor, with many landlords in the affected areas bracing for the worst.

“Mitchell obviously doesn’t give a damn about landlords trying to get by,” explained Juan Rodriguez, who owns a rental property in East L.A., to the Globe on Thursday. “Inflation affects us too. And, in other areas, it’s older units getting the cap. You know, the mortgage is paid off and whatnot. But here, you know, inflation packs more of a punch. Our insurance rates are sky high. Yet, we are the ones who are expected to face the brunt of this. This is anything but fair and is going to hurt us a lot more than if the old amount stays in place. We’re screwed. Madre de Dios.”

The final vote on the rent increase proposal for unincorporated L.A. County is expected soon.

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5 thoughts on “L.A. County Board Of Supervisors Vote on Stricter Rent Caps in County Unincorporated Areas

  1. LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell has never started or ran a business, She’s a typical career Democrat who goes from one political office to another. She’s a despicable race baiting racist who generated controversy when she said at a BLM forum that “Law enforcement and the District Attorneys Association and the Sheriffs’ Association, who just when you look at who represents them in Sacramento, is clearly such White supremacist organizations.” Before being installed on the LA County Board of Supervisors for District 2, she served as a State Senator for California’s 30th senate district from 2013 to 2020, which is also part of Supervisorial District 2 and encompasses Culver City, Ladera Heights, Exposition Park, and parts of the Westmont, Florence, Crenshaw, Del Rey, Marina del Rey, Downtown Los Angeles. She previously represented the 26th Senate District after replacing then-Senator Curren Price in a 2013 special election. Prior to being selected to the State Senate, she was installed in the California State Assembly representing the 54th Assembly District.

    No doubt this strict rental cap will reduce the number of rentals in LA County and landlords will have no incentive to improve their properties?


  2. Gee, I have a sneaking suspicion that Supervisor Holly Mitchell is not just one of the Useful Idiots or someone who just couldn’t get over the magnificence (!!) of what she learned in her “Marxism 101” class in college. Instead I think she is someone who understands VERY WELL that it is the Dem/Marxist policies she has supported, alongside other Dem politicians in the state, that have caused the situation she then uses to JUSTIFY her rent control schemes. Which by the way will only further cause rental problems for both tenant and landlord.
    These politicians screwed over landlords —- who were mostly Mom & Pop landlords —- so badly that eventually their only option after the fake Covid hysteria debacle and all that followed was to SELL their properties if at all possible and leave the state, ASAP. Thus supply is further reduced while demand increases so OF COURSE rents have to go up. Never mind all the regulatory and other crap in place that causes sky-high rents. Sounds like Holly Mitchell should have taken a course in REALISM as well as a decent Econ 101 course in college instead of Communism 101.

      1. Good stuff, TJ. All of it.
        Funny, I did have the thought, as you did, that she may have not gone to college, but figured she was such an empty-headed ideologically-oriented puppet that she must have, so I carried on without checking her bio. 🙂

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