Retrofitting Vulnerable Buildings Becomes Mandatory in Earthquake Prone LA..
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to require that 15,000 buildings across the city be retrofitted to withstand the shaking caused by earthquakes, reports Rong-Gong Lin II, Rosanna Xia, and Doug Smith of the Los Angeles Times. The new regulations give property owners five years to upgrade wood buildings and 25 years to upgrade concrete buildings in order to prevent the type of building collapse that was most recently seen in the 2011 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand. The unknown remains how the retrofitting will be paid for, and by whom.
“The City Council is still mulling exactly how the retrofit costs will be shared. The law currently allows owners to increase monthly rents by up to $75 to pay for required earthquake retrofits, but both sides say they do not think Los Angeles renters can afford such a hike…
To help pay for the costs, apartment groups are looking for additional financial support, such as breaks on property and state income taxes and business license and building permit fees for owners who retrofit.”
The Times report states that the city will begin sending out notices to some 13,500 owners of wood buildings next month, with the owners of 1,500 concrete buildings being contacted at a later date. The cost to upgrade a single concrete building could approach close to $1 million.