A Los Angeles City Council committee has rejected calls for an extension of the ban on rent increases that started during the COVID-19 pandemic and is instead offering a plan with a smaller increase.
The committee has approved a plan to allow apartment rents to increase by 4% in 2024 rather than 7%, with an additional 2% for owner and paid utilities. The plan would go into effect in February.
Property owner Mike Werner said the city’s so-called compromise isn’t much of a compromise at all. He said building costs like insurance have skyrocketed during the three and a half year span of the rent increase ban.
Nearly 75% of apartments in LA are under rent control and at least 45 years old, which owners say make them even more expensive to maintain.
“The price of everything has gone through the ceiling,” Werner said. “I think there is a misconception that this is a very high-margin business and it is not.”
Renters and activists say owners enjoyed low inflation and 3% rent increases before the pandemic and can now afford to tighten the belt so that people can stay in their homes.
“There’s a lot of economic stuff we’re still dealing with — the price of gas is one that continues to go up,” renter Leonardo Vilchis-Zarate said. “I’m working two jobs trying to get by.”
The six-month extension for the rent increase ban was proposed by council member Hugo Soto-Martinez. The 4% increase plan will now go before the City Council for a vote.
“Four percent is better than seven percent, but even four percent is going to hurt a lot of people in the city,” Coalition for Economic Survival Executive Director Larry Gross said.
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