(Editor’s note: Local property owners are alerting residents that Councilman Mike Bonin has made a proposal to limit City rent increases to 60% of the consumer price index (CPI). Owners argue that if this proposal is enacted by the L.A. City Council, it will negatively impact housing quality, jobs and property values. Resident Steven Dersh shared the letter he sent to Council President Nury Martinez. Also on the Housing Committee are Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, John Lee, Nithya Raman, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Paul Krekorian.)
Dear Councilmember Martinez:
I am a native Angelino and have been a caring and devoted apartment building owner for 35 years. I have worked 24/7 for those 35 years. I care about my buildings and my tenants as do most building owners. Over the last many years, my operating costs have increased far greater than the current 3% allowable increase and I am more than happy to share the numbers with you.
Mike Bonin’s proposal to limit rent increases to 60% of CPI (Consumer Price Index) will literally devastate housing providers, most of whom are small mom-and-pop owners. Many of these owners are people of color who have made investments for their future. This proposal will greatly damage their future, too. I can’t imagine that you want to hurt people of color and prevent them from getting ahead in life. It is also unconscionable to hurt seniors who rely on their apartment buildings for their support. That is what this proposal will do.
In addition, this proposal will only help decrease property values, leading to lower City and property taxes. Without the ability to maintain property, the City and its communities will definitely deteriorate. I can’t imagine creating blight is what you are trying to accomplish. I know firsthand what funds are left after paying my excessively escalating bills and it is marginal at best. Mike Bonin’s proposal will not improve the lives in our communities and will certainly not solve housing affordability.
As reported by CNBC, Apartment Guide compared rent price data from March 2020 to March 2021 using apartment listings from both ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com. They found the following in their analysis: 8. Los Angeles – Rents have decreased 16.0%.
For the love of our City, my tenants and your constituents, I urge you to vote NO on May 12th on Mike Bonin’s counter-productive proposal to limit rent increases to below CPI. If not, it appears that the proposal is deliberate, intentional to pander to wealthy large apartment building owners and their hedge funds and with respect to Councilman Bonin’s re-election campaign is politically motivated.
(Additional information was sent about the City Considering Permanently Lowering Allowable Rent Increases:
For decades, Los Angeles rental housing providers have relied on their ability to increase rents by a minimum of 3% per year in the city’s rent-controlled units.
That assurance went away during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the Los Angeles City Council banned all rent increases across the city.
A proposal by City Councilman Mike Bonin will attempt to eliminate the 3% “floor.”
Bonin’s proposal would replace the 3% floor on rent increases with a new calculation – 60% of the consumer price index. If Bonin’s plan is approved, the new formula will take effect after the current COVID-19 moratorium on all rent increases is eventually lifted.
Housing providers are reeling from an indefinite freeze on rent increases while coping with prohibitions on rent collections and skyrocketing maintenance costs.
The current allowable increase calculation resulted from a compromise at the inception of the rent control program in 1978. The 3% floor has long existed as a safety mechanism for housing providers, ensuring they do not fall victim to costs that rise independent of the CPI.)
I have never understood rent control from day 1. Market conditions should determine rent. And, if the government wishes to control rents, why not take it one step further and set price controls on food at supermarkets. And, let’s take it even one more step and establish price controls on services provided by doctors and lawyers. Is there some reason landlords should be asked to bear the brunt of these ridiculous encroachments on capitalism.