Los Angeles County Mandates All Rentals Be Inspected Every 4 Years

Los Angeles County Mandates All Rentals Be Inspected Every 4 Years

An apartment building in Los Angeles on Oct. 20, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

City News Service
City News Service

4/24/2024

Updated: 4/24/2024

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LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave final approval April 23 to changes in the county’s rental housing inspection program and enforcement policies, mandating inspections every four years for all rental units in unincorporated areas.
After tentatively approving the changes earlier this month, the board on Tuesday unanimously and without discussion gave final approval to the overhaul of its Rental Housing Habitability and Rent Escrow Account programs. The new ordinance will take effect in six months.
The Rental Housing Habitability (RHH) Program will require all rentals to be routinely inspected once every four years, which would be on top of any complaint-based inspections. The Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP) allows for rent reductions on properties that do not timely correct violations of housing standards. In other words, if a landlord does not address certain issues in a timely manner, tenants can seek a reduction in their rent through the county program until the problem is addressed.
Landlords who fail to fix code violations could have their properties placed into REAP, and tenants would pay their rent into an account withheld from the landlord until the issues are addressed.
The county’s plan is similar to inspections and enforcement procedures that have been in place in the city of Los Angeles since 1998.
As part of the Rental Housing Habitability Program, inspectors will review units for issues such as waterproofing; working plumbing and gas; appropriate water supply and pressure; operable ventilation systems in bathrooms; mold; and infestation by insects such as cockroaches or bed bugs.
In the initial year of enforcement and implementation, costs will be covered by fees. The RHH Program includes an annual $86 per unit fee that will be included as part of the rental property’s annual tax assessment, according to a county memo. Landlords will be permitted to pass 50 percent of the fee on to the tenant.
Landlords who’ve had their property placed into REAP will face an administrative fee of $137 per rental unit per month until they clear violations.
During the board’s April 16 meeting, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she supported the new rules but remained concerned about the fees placed on mom-and-pop landlords. Ms. Barger had noted that she would track the resources offered to landlords—like sliding scales and help for those who can’t afford the repairs.
Supervisor Janice Hahn described the plan as one that is “responsible” to renters and “fair” to landlords, noting it will reward property owners who continue to do right by their tenants.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) had expressed concerns over the changes, calling for an alternative inspection time frame and cost assessment for properties that have a “demonstrated history of compliance.”
“Responsible housing providers and those operating in excellence should not face the same administrative burden or cost structure as those with non-compliant histories,” Fred Sutton, senior vice president of local public affairs for CAA, wrote in a letter to the county.
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