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LA City Council Supports Ellis Act Eviction Restrictions

NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS - The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday called for the state to pass legislation requiring a minimum of five years of ownership before a homeowner can invoke the Ellis Act to evict tenants and take the property off the rental market.

The resolution to support Assembly Bill 854 was passed unanimously by the council after being introduced by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

“Back in 1985, when the Ellis Act was first adopted, it was a response to a somewhat legitimate concern raised primarily by small mom and pop apartment owners who were losing money after the recently passed rent control and then were having difficulty getting out of the rental business to stop that loss,” Koretz said ahead of the vote Tuesday.

“But like so many well intended legislative actions, the Ellis Act has turned out to have some serious unintended consequences. Some people in the real estate business have exploited its provisions to turn much-needed housing into purely a commodity.

“They purchase buildings with the intention (to) empty them out, tearing them down or replacing them with new or refurbished units that previous tenants couldn’t possibly afford.”

Koretz added that he believed the legislation would still allow homeowners to invoke the Ellis Act, but because they must own for at least five years, it would spread out Ellis Act evictions and disincentivize speculative apartment building purchases.

He added that “actively supporting” the bill should be one of many steps taken by the City Council to halt the increase of homelessness in Los Angeles.

Daniel Yukelson, executive director for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, an association representing landlords, said his organization is “vehemently opposed” to the Assembly bill.

“If you put more restriction on what in effect is a parachute for your investments, there’s going to be fewer people that are willing to invest in real estate in California. It just increases the risk profile of investing in rental properties,” Yukelson told City News Service.

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