Putting rental housing owners out of business is not a solution to the housing shortage – Daily News
Los Angeles City 4th District Councilwoman Nithya Raman listens to public comment during a city council meeting at City Hall in Los Angeles on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. (Photo by Kyosung Jung/Contributing Photographer)
When restrictions on landlords raising rents enacted during the coronavirus pandemic are set to be lifted, rent control groups claim the result will be “catastrophic” for tenants. It’s strange, isn’t it, how they never think about the other side of that coin?
Because in the city of Los Angeles, at a time of high inflation, it is certainly disastrous for people who make a living by building and renting housing to not be able to grow the income their businesses generate because of emergency regulations that were first adopted years ago. Coverage for a public health emergency that no longer exists. It has been more than three years since housing providers have been able to adjust the prices they charge. Imagine if such a restriction were imposed on your own business.
Perhaps that will change, giving apartment owners a decent return on their investment and the ability to maintain their properties for the benefit of their tenants. As Julia Wick reported in the Los Angeles Times, “Come February, landlords will be able to raise rent on many tenants for the first time since emergency protections went into effect in early 2020.”
After those years of strict controls, landlords will finally be able to raise the rent by 7%, or 9% if they pay their utility bills.
But watch out: Councilman Hugo Soto Martinez has introduced a proposal to freeze apartment rents in the city for another six months to allow time for a study on how much rent increase to allow.
Another half year in which homeowners will get the economic column.
More council machinations are scheduled this week at the committee level, including a proposal to instead allow rent increases of just 4% — 6% if utilities are included — next February.
It is painfully clear to all Angelenos that these discussions come at a time when the homelessness crisis shows no sign of abating, and families living paycheck to paycheck are forever on the verge of becoming homeless.
But putting rental housing owners out of business is not the solution. I congratulate Council Members John Lee and Monica Rodriguez for their argument that landlords cannot be expected to shoulder all the burden while Los Angeles, hopefully, begins to build its way out of its massive housing supply problem.