There’s a Handy New Guide out on Los Angeles Renters’ Rights

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It’s pretty bleak these days for Los Angeles renters on the hunt for an affordable place to live. With a rental vacancy rate of just 2.7 percent (the national average is 7 percent), competition for housing in the LA metro area is steep, and prices are reflecting that.

In the midst of these unaffordable housing woes is an upswing in Ellis Act evictions. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants in order to demolish the building or take it off the rental market, in return for paying a relocation fee for the evicted tenants. (Getting out of the landlord business can prove very lucrative, whether its to sell the property to developers or place the property on Airbnb).

All this comes at a dramatic cost to LA’s already struggling rental market. In April, the Los Angeles Times revealed that evictions from rent-controlled units have doubled since 2013. The number of affordable rental units removed from the housing market has tripled in the same timeframe.

So, Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, is launching a new campaign called “Home for Renters” to help renters better understand their rights as tenants. The campaign will use“cutting edge” ads, flyers, and doorhangers to ensure tenants in LA’s “most vulnerable” neighborhoods are aware of the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, passed in 1979.

Our RSO awareness campaign will help reduce illegal evictions and rent increases. Visit https://t.co/EfN3Wa7NQLpic.twitter.com/49cXt3FJfq

— Mayor of Los Angeles (@MayorOfLA) July 11, 2016

The longstanding ordinance sets guidelines for what is a legally allowable reason for eviction, outlines the types of evictions that require landlords to pay tenants’ relocation costs, and puts limitations on how much a landlord can raise rents. Nearly 624,000 rental units, or 75 percent of the city’s apartment stock, falls under the rent control ordinance.

The new campaign also has a home online at the newly redesigned housing and community investment department website, where there’s a handy downloadable guidebook on the “ABC’s of the RSO.”

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