LOS FELIZ—The Los Angeles City Council’s Housing Committee approved a motion to reform California’s Ellis Act on Wednesday, October 23 that was written by Councilmember David Ryu along with Councilmember Mike Bonin of the 11th District.
The Ellis Act which is a state law passed in 1985 permits landlords to evict tenants if the landlord desires to leave the rental market. Many landlords have used the legislation in their favor to “flip” affordable housing units and convert them into condominiums and other profitable projects. Under the Act landlords are required to pay tenants relocation assistance which varies on a tenant’s length of residency in a unit and other factors.
The motion states that this current form fails to consider the additional expenses associated with moving from a rent stabilized unit to a market rate unit. The current form also fails to recognize the additional expenses associated with commuting if the evicted tenant is unable to find a new affordable unit in the same community. Both Ryu and Bonin request would add requirements that would be favorable to tenants.
If approved by the entire city council, their motion would offer tenants the right of first refusal on new units at below market rates, increase the amount of relocation payments made to displaced tenants, increase the affordable housing requirement for new building construction and will permit the city to purchase affordable housing units that are at risk of being taken off the market.
“We can and must do more to protect our renters and affordable housing stock,” said Councilmember Ryu. “This means increasing the affordable housing requirements in new housing, and increasing relocation assistance for displaced tenants. This means giving the City the power to acquire at-risk apartment buildings to protect the tenants that live there. Most of all, it means doing everything we can in Los Angeles to stem the tide of displacement and stop the bleeding.”