Apartment building owners would be exempted from rent control laws in the City of Los Angeles as an incentive to retrofit buildings for earthquake safety, under a city council proposal, it was reported today.
Councilmember Bernard Parks said the action would “incentivize retrofitting” and that city staff should evaluate passing through all of the costs to tenants but do it “over a reasonable period of time,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The city council is already looking into a state bond measure that would help owners pay to seismically retrofit their buildings, but Parks told the newspaper the city should first see if there's a simpler solution. Right now, only 50 percent of the cost of major apartment rehabilitation project can be passed through to tenants.
“Before you start ... looking to the state for funding, you should first look to your own city ordinances and see if there might be a simpler solution,” Parks told The Times. “You don't ask for bond money to keep your property in tiptop shape.”
In October, The Times reported that by the most conservative estimate, as many as 50 of the more than 1,000 older concrete buildings in the city -- those built before 1976 -- would collapse in a major earthquake, exposing thousand to injury or death.
Despite the destruction of the 1994 Northridge earthquake -- when the earthquake damaged or destroyed about 200 structures and killed 16 people -- City Hall has paid little attention to how to help owners fund retrofits, Councilman Mitch Englander, who seconded Parks' motion, told The Times.--City News Service