EDITOR’S NOTE: This letters was originally sent to city council.
In May 2021, the City Council adopted an ordinance establishing a rental registration fee of $167.00 per unit per year. At that time, the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA or Association) urged the Council to postpone implementation of the fee until such time as rental housing providers are able to collect rent due or at minimum waive the initial fee similar to the City of Inglewood. The ordinance was adopted without modification requiring that housing providers register and pay the associated fee by July 31, 2021, with a one-month grace period. We urge the City Council to reconsider this matter by either delaying the assessment of the registration fee, extending the grace period through the end of the year and/or providing a hardship waiver of the initial fee.
For over 16 months, the City’s small business rental housing providers have continued to face severe financial hardships having collected little, if any rental income, and consequently depleting retirement and other savings or financing critical items with credit cards in order to maintain essential building operations, with many now contemplating or being forced into leaving the business entirely. The exit of these small business, “mom and pop” housing providers from the rental industry, providers of the bulk of the City’s affordable housing units, is a tremendous loss to the City and a potentially devastating reduction in much needed affordable housing.
Delaying the assessment, extending the grace period and/or providing a waiver aligns with actions taken in Inglewood and most recently in Los Angeles County. At the July 27 Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board unanimously approved a waiver of the County’s annual rent registration fee through June 30, 2022 “due to the ongoing economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.” It is important to note that the County previously waived the fee in February 2021 for calendar year 2021 “due to the ongoing financial burdens on landlords and mobilehome park owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
We request that the City Council similarly recognize the severe financial hardships that rental housing providers have experienced and continue to experience due the pandemic and related government mandates. Accordingly, the Association urges the City Council to consider the proposed options set forth in this letter.
As we advance through the next phases of the pandemic and post-pandemic period, it is essential that we all work together to develop effective and equitable solutions that serve to assist all those impacted, prevent further economic instability, and facilitate the rebound ahead. Thank you for your time and consideration of these matters.
— Danielle Leidner-Peretz, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles
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