June 30, 2015
MAYOR GARCETTI AND COUNCILMEMBER CEDILLO IMPROVE ELLIS ACT ENFORCEMENT
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Chair of the Housing Committee, today announced a call to City departments to improve enforcement of the Ellis Act, a 1985 California state law that allows properties subject to rent stabilization to be removed from the rental market. Intended to offer landlords a means to “go out of business,” the Ellis Act is sometimes abused in order to evict tenants, especially in strong real estate markets.
Councilmember Cedillo today introduced a motion that directs the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) to review permits for properties that have invoked the Ellis Act at all stages of their development plans, including the issuance of both demolition permits and building permits, for a 5-year period after the properties have been withdrawn from the rental market. This closes an existing loophole and ensures that property owners follow the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) when they remove units through the Ellis Act. The RSO requires that “Ellissed” properties being re-rented or rebuilt within five years provide housing at specified affordability levels.
“Tackling our housing crisis requires producing more housing, but also preserving the affordability we have now,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Today I’m pleased to partner with Councilmember Cedillo on common-sense fixes that improve access to information and enforcement of the rules we have on the books.”
“We must continue to protect our affordable housing stock, that includes all properties currently under RSO,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “The Ellis Act allows for owners to leave the rental market, but we must ensure protections for tenants are in place, and today’s motion ensures adequate monitoring to guarantee there are no illegal evictions, and those who do invoke Ellis are doing so under the allowed provisions of State and local law. I look forward to ongoing discussions on how to better protect tenants under the Ellis Act. In the meantime, this is a quick fix that will ensure the protections in place are being upheld.”
To raise awareness of the City’s rent stabilization regulations and provide better information to both renters and property owners, Mayor Garcetti is asking that properties subject to the RSO be indicated in the Zoning Information Mapping Access System (ZIMAS), an online resource that provides property information to the public at zimas.lacity.org. ZIMAS will also indicate properties that have filed for removal from the rental market under the Ellis Act. The Mayor is also directing HCID to develop proactive monitoring policies for “Ellissed” properties, and to provide RSO and Ellis Act information for customers in the City’s Development Service Centers.
They will continue working with HCID, the City Council, and stakeholders to identify legislative actions that will further preserve housing affordability for Angelenos.
From 2005-2014, the City lost more than 13,500 rent-stabilized units through Ellis Act removals.