May 11, 2017 

City News Service 


Hoping to boost the city's stock of affordable housing, the City Council agreed Wednesday to legalize some previously un-permitted apartments in multi-family buildings.


Under the ordinance, which was approved on a 12-0 vote, landlords can rent out previously unapproved units, provided they offer an equal amount of affordable housing units at the same location.


The ordinance stemmed from a motion introduced by former Councilman Felipe Fuentes in 2014 directing the Department of City Planning to propose options for legalizing unapproved dwelling units.


Numerous studies have found that due to a lack of available units at all economic levels, rental prices have risen in recent years, making the city one of the least affordable in the country to live in. The approved ordinance is the latest in a series of moves the City Council has taken to address the issue.


"As we all know we have a housing crisis in the city of Los Angeles and it hits our low-income residents even harder. What this will do is allow us to secure affordable units across the city while still meeting all our fire, life and safety codes and bring so many of our existing stock out of the shadows and allow people to live in them with their families," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who chairs the Planning and Land Use Management Committee and has been a supporter of the ordinance. "This ordinance will directly benefit and protect those residents and their families while increasing our available affordable housing stock for others."


According to Huizar's office, as an unintended result of the city's inspection of multi-family buildings, between 400 and 500 housing units are removed from the market each year because they were not permitted and were being rented out illegally.


"I'm so excited for this day because I have been pushing for this since I first got on the council," Councilman Paul Koretz said. "The city has had what I view as a bad practice for years of finding these units, kicking out the tenants and vacating them and wiping out affordable housing that would have cost us hundreds of millions of dollars to build if we were trying to create it."


For a unit to become eligible to be permitted, it must be free from other code violations and meet other standards, including having existed since before Dec. 10, 2015.

Category: Business