For Immediate Release: June 9, 2021
LOS ANGELES -- In a vote of 13-0 in Wednesday’s Los Angeles City Council Meeting, Council passed the City’s draft Tenant-Anti Harassment Ordinance, including seven amendments from City Councilmember Nithya Raman.
“The draft tenant anti-harassment ordinance championed by Councilmember Cedillo is a vital step in protecting tenants from being targeted and harassed,” said Councilmember Raman. “I’m proud to see my amendments included in this next draft, strengthening its capability of serving the vulnerable tenants it is intended to protect.”
Several of the amendments incorporated into the draft ordinance further define behavior that can qualify as tenant harassment, including aggressive “cash for keys” offers, in which landlords attempt to coerce a tenant to vacate with a buyout offer, as well ascontacting government entities, like law enforcement or child protective services, in an attempt to influence tenants to leave.
Other changes further strengthen the ordinance. Making it possible for nonprofit groups to sue on behalf of tenants means that more tenants will be able to file these cases. Granting the Court's authority to instruct landlords engaged in harassment to stop their illegal behavior or actions means that tenants will have the chance to see harassment cease.
Most importantly, outlawing an increase of rent on rent stabilized units that became vacant as a result of tenant harassment violations eliminates a big part of the incentive for landlords to engage in harassment in the first place.
“A strong ordinance against tenant harassment provides a framework for renters to truly exercise their rights,” said Councilmember Raman. “We hope that the draft ordinance, with the addition of these amendments, sets up a system whereby tenants no longer feel like they have to choose between poor living conditions or displacement from their homes.”
The amendments drew the support of Los Angeles-based tenants’ rights organizations and leaders, including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the Coalition for Economic Survival, Housing Is A Human Right, the Housing Rights Center, Inner City Law Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, LACAN, the LA Tenants’ Rights Union, Public Counsel, Strategic Actions for Just Economy, and tenants’ rights attorney Claudia Medina.
“Our coalition partners are central to the success of these amendments and this ordinance moving forward,” said Councilmember Raman. “As the closest to and most ardent advocates of those most susceptible to tenant harassment -- people of color, low-income renters, women, and families with children -- their insight and organizing has pushed the City to take these urgent and necessary actions. I’m deeply grateful for their partnership and support in this effort, and I hope this will result in greater peace for the tenants they represent.”
This vote directs the City Attorney to revise the draft ordinance in accordance with the proposed amendments. Once amended, the updated draft will return to Council for final vote to approve the ordinance.