Why Los Angeles Needs a Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance.

taken from http://www.saje.net/index.php

When you think about some of the things that Los Angeles needs, your thoughts might lean toward our city needing some serious traffic relief, some air quality improvement, a few more independent bookstores, or even how the Lakers need another three-peat. Chances are, your thoughts aren’t lingering on how Los Angeles needs a Residential Hotel Ordinance.

But for the thousands of low-income residents living in Downtown Los Angeles, the area’s residential hotels are the only housing they can afford. It’s the only housing that keeps them from joining the ranks of Downtown’s 90,000-strong homeless population and it desperately needs to be preserved.

Why Do We Need An Ordinance?
Residential hotels provide much-needed housing of last resort for the lowest income tenants in Los Angeles , many of whom are elderly, disabled, and families with children. Hundreds of residential hotel units have been lost in the past two years and thousands more are at risk of closure, of conversion into luxury-style apartments, or demolition. It’s important for an ordinance to be passed—and soon—to ensure that this type of trend does not continue to push more people into homelessness.

How Does It Work?
A Residential Hotel Preservation Ordinance would preserve Los Angeles‘ housing of last resort by requiring replacement housing for any lost residential hotel units due to demolition or conversion, and it would require replacement prior to the demolition and conversion of these units to luxury or high income housing.

How Can We Do It?
State law allows Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco to exempt residential hotel units from the Ellis Act, thereby protecting residential hotel units from demolition and conversion.

San Francisco and San Diego have already successfully enacted similar Ordinances protecting residential hotel housing, and Los Angeles must follow.

There are more than 5,000 unprotected residential hotel units in the downtown area alone, and thousands more City-wide. The Ellis Act exemption provides a unique opportunity to preserve affordable housing and help prevent our affordable housing crisis from getting even worse.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Advantage Of This Preservation Opportunity ?

If LA enacts a residential hotel preservation ordinance, we will:

  • Prevent homelessness for thousands of tenants living in hotels at-risk of conversion.
  • Contribute to the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Pedro, and other areas and ensure that long term residents can continue to live in their improved neighborhoods.
  • Affordable housing developers in Los Angeles will be able to leverage available funds from Propositions 48 and 63 to build on their past successes in renovating residential hotels into safe and affordable housing for extremely low income people.

What Are The Costs Of Ignoring This Opportunity?

If LA does not act now to protect residential hotels, we will:

  • Fail to prevent the loss of thousands of affordable housing units in the midst of LA’s most severe housing crisis.
  • Force elderly and disabled people, as well as hundreds of families with children, into homelessness.
  • Displace hundreds of mentally ill tenants who have secured and maintained housing through the State of California ‘s hugely successful AB2034 Program and other mental health programs.

At this critical juncture, our City officials must make every effort to preserve affordable housing in the midst of our severe housing crisis.

The Ellis Act is a state law that states that landlords have the unconditional right to evict tenants to ‘go out of business.’

To evict under the Ellis Act, the landlord must remove all units in the building from the rental market, i.e., the landlord must evict all the tenants. When a landlord invokes the Ellis Act, the apartments can not be re-rented, except at the same rent the evicted tenant was paying, for five years following the evictions.

Ellis Act evictions generally are used to ‘change the use’ of the building. Most Ellis Act evictions are used to convert rental units to condominiums, using loopholes in the condominium law.

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