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Rumblings & Bumblings Responses: We're Rent Controlled

Thanks for your follow-up answers and for answering our question about rent control. We learned a lot this week on a very special episode of Rumbilings & Bumblings. Please send in your queries about new developments, city regulations, and other issues weighing heavy on your mind and we'll answer next week. Thanks! Email to la@curbed.com.

1) West Hollywood: Still no updates on Sunset Millenium. That project has brought shame to our family. It is dead to us.

2) West Hollywood: A reader asked about the business that is going to be opening at the corner of Santa Monica & Westbourne in West Hollywood. We got no replies, but Googled around. Not a lot of info right now. We did see this from March 2005: "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PUBLIC PARKING LOT AT SANTA MONICA & WESTBOURNE? You may have noticed that the public parking lot located at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westbourne Avenue is gone and the lot is under construction.

Approval was granted in October 2004 for a new 4,200 square-foot one- story retail building at 8631 Santa Monica Boulevard. The project includes 8 ground level parking spaces and 14 roof-top parking spaces. This site was recently used as a public parking lot and before that was a church. The "alley" behind the site that provides access to Borelli's Salon is not a public alley, despite the previous accessibility. This private access easement across the back will remain." And we also saw this PDF from Ramsey Shilling Co., who are, or were, acting as lease agents for the site. We even tried to call them to see the what's what but got lost in voice mail hell.

3) Santa Monica: The building that used to look like a Walgreens, no longer looks like its going to be a Walgreens, and a tipster who saw the site says: "There was a a city redevelopment notice up there for a while, and I believe it said they were just building a new Used Car ('scuse me "Previously Pampered Vehicles") lot there to replace the old one. I think it was for Simanson Mercedes."

4) Downtown: Rent control was the issue. Downtown was the place. And many of you answered. We give you this from one of our friends in the City.

The whole city of Los Angeles has rent stabilization, a form of rent control. Landlords may increase the rent on rent-stabilized apartments by 3%/year, and may raise the rent to whatever the market will bear when a tenant moves out. Stabilization only applies to units constructed before 1978 (and therefore not to new downtown lofts or any apartments that have come on line since that time.) It applies to any property with more than one unit; if you rent a stand-alone home, the policy does not apply, but if you rent a guest house or half of a duplex, it does. The other typical rent control, "vacancy decontrol" has been illegal in CA since the Costa-Hawkins Act, passed in the late nineties. Santa Monica had that, you may remember, where apartment prices were controlled even after tenants moved out.

The City Council has recently been active at tightening up rent stabilization in order to limit the harsher effects of gentrification. Until recently, landlords could evict tenants simply by undertaking a major renovation of an apartment. Led by Councilmembers Garcetti and Reyes, the council modified this policy; now it requires landlords to develop a plan with tenants to either move them out temporarily or work around them, and it allows them to raise the rent by a maximum of 10% until costs are recouped--but not to evict.

Cool. Another reader sends us this link from the City Web site talking about housing issues. Thanks for the response. We have another question we plan to throw out there next week which might interest some of you. See you next week.