Los Angeles Ordinance Will Ban Tenant Harassment

The law targets "knowing and willful" actions on the part of landlords meant to drive tenants out of rent-controlled apartments.

June 23, 2021, 8:30 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

 The Young Apartments — 1621 South Grand Avenue, at the southern end of Downtown Los Angeles.

Downtowngal / Los Angeles Apartments

A proposed ordinance meant to protect renters from landlord harassment will ban "'knowing and willful course of conduct' aimed at a specific tenant or tenants that causes harm and has 'no lawful purpose,'" reports Emily Alpert Reyes for the Los Angeles Times.

In addition to a long list of specifically banned behaviors such as threats of physical harm and neglecting to perform maintenance, the law also prohibits "any actions that “substantially interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of a tenant” and are meant to make the tenant give up their unit." The law also targets the financial incentives that drive landlords to push people out of rent-controlled apartments: "If a landlord is found to have harassed someone out of a rent-stabilized apartment, the property owner can be barred from charging more to the next tenant who follows that person."

"Legal advocates argued that by spelling out what kinds of actions amount to harassment, the new ordinance will make it easier for aggrieved renters to pursue a case, rather than trying to figure out whether it is covered by existing laws." According to tenants' rights advocates, "the L.A. ordinance will give tenants a crucial tool to fight harassment meant to prod them out of their homes as rents have risen. Similar rules exist in San Francisco, Santa Monica and West Hollywood." Landlord groups, meanwhile, have expressed concerns about frivolous lawsuits, claiming that in some cases tenants harass landlords, too.

The L.A. city council "voted Wednesday to ask the City Attorney to prepare a revised version of the ordinance that includes amendments backed by the council."

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

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