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Los Angeles Apartment Association Sues City Over Rent-Freeze Ordinance

Group Wants State Superior Court To Prohibit Municipality From Enforcing Law

Rent Freeze

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles wants a court to prohibit the city from enforcing its freeze on rents in rent-stabilized apartments. (Zach Lipp/CoStar)

By Jack Witthaus

CoStar News

July 25, 2023 | 8:43 AM

A Los Angeles apartment advocacy group is suing the city as part of an effort to upend a rent freeze placed on certain multifamily units.

The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against a city ordinance that prohibits rental property owners from increasing rents on rent-stabilized units, according to a statement by AAGLA.

The rent freeze ordinance is in effect until February 2024 or roughly four years after the city halted rent increases on rent-stabilized units. The city froze rents in March 2020 as part of an emergency declaration related to the pandemic.

The apartment association is seeking an order from the California Superior Court to nullify the ordinance and prohibit the city from enforcing it right away.

The lawsuit is separate from two other suits the organization filed over residential renter protection ordinances and the mansion tax. Those lawsuits are pending.

The ordinance has hurt landlords as inflation has caused costs to soar, AAGLA President Cheryl Turner said in the statement. Rent-stabilized units are apartments where the city regulates rent increases and evictions. There are roughly 624,000 rent-stabilized units in Los Angeles, according to city data.

Rent Freeze

“No other type of business or entity, not food suppliers, medical professionals, nor the government itself, have been burdened by what will ultimately be a four-year mandated ‘freeze’ on income from which housing providers will never be able to make-up,” Turner said.

A representative for the Los Angeles city attorney's office said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Los Angeles multifamily rent growth has cooled in recent months after surging between 2021-2022 mirroring a nationwide increase in apartment rents after rents fell during the pandemic's early months. Since March 2020, apartment asking rents have grown 9.6% in greater L.A., according to CoStar data.

The average apartment asking rent in greater Los Angeles is $2,228, up roughly 0.74% year over year, according to CoStar data. The market's average vacancy is 4.9%, which is up 25.6% year over year but near the 10-year historic average.


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