Q&A with the Apartment Association – September 2021 Update

We took all the top questions and concerns from apartment owners in Long Beach and asked all of them to Oliver John Baptiste from the Apartment Association. Here are his answers!

California Eviction Moratorium

September 30th of 2021 is the date we expect the expiration of our current eviction moratorium under AB832. We expect it to expire, but as it has been extended in the past, we can be thrown another curve ball. In terms of an extension, it seems fairly unlikely because of the constitutional hurdles it needs to go through. This makes it less likely at the state level to have an extension beyond September 30th.

Unpaid Rent and Rental Relief Program

If you are a landlord and a tenant owes you money, whether it be one dollar or a hundred dollars, sign up for the LA County Covid-19 Rent Relief Program for two reasons:

  1. To get the money owed, if your tenant is eligible. 
  2. If you intend to file an eviction after September 30th, one of the first things they will ask you is, “did you at least attempt to apply for the Rent Relief program?” Even if you aren’t chosen for the program, and even if your tenant wasn’t eligible, making the attempt is at least the minimum requirement to move forward with evictions after September 30th.

I’ve had many people say, “I’ve applied and I’m waiting and waiting.”  What I tell them is to keep waiting because there are funds out there, and you do get them. It’s just a matter of making sure all the paperwork is in place. The program is a good program, and although it is delayed, the funds are coming. They have a lot of funds ready to be issued.

Landlords Should Spearhead the Rent Relief Program

Landlords have said, “my tenants owe me money, and my tenant is signing up for the program.” What I tell them is that they should be leading the entire process to make sure they get paid. Should the funds go to the tenant, the tenant has 14 days to pay the landlord. We hope that the tenant pays the landlord in 14 days time, if not, then this can be the basis of further legal action. 

To avoid that confusion, you should be the one heading the entire process. Going online, starting the process, and facilitating the process for your tenant. This also shows intent. Should you end up in court in front of a judge, you can show proof that you did what you could do, but you really needed the tenants cooperation.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

We are doing some research here at the Apartment Association and we did a bit of outreach to a couple of owners and we came up with just a couple of quick facts. The bulk of ADUs (accessory dwelling units) has been unaffected throughout the pandemic. Yes, there are developments going on downtown, but those are luxury apartments and not affordable housing.

In terms of affordable housing, ADUs are the only source of significant growth happening in the last couple of years.  Long Beach had 600 permits pulled in 2020. On a year after year basis, this is the primary source of affordable housing.

When they first passed the ADU law, they only wanted them behind SFRs. Since then, they have made an amendment for multifamily units. Also when they first created it, you were able to build on top of your garages, but now I’m hearing that they are stopping this and not allowing ADUs above garages and instead will allow the conversion of garages. This leads to the removal of garages, and it sounds backwards.

Yes, even some members of the Apartment Association have been having the same problems, but there are some curve-balls that have been thrown at us. 

There were 7 legislative bills passed through 2018-2019 allowing these ADU constructions. These orders are uninformed about the industry, eager to learn, and I currently see it as a growth in the market.

An SFR that has a new ADU build is exempt from AB1482 as long as it is on the same tax bill. At the point of completed construction, this property is still exempt as it was built within the past 15 years.  After 15 years, both the ADU and SFR lose their exemption and they are both subject to rent control.

Other Common Questions from Landlords in Long Beach

If a landlord wants possession of their property, will they be able to get possession after September 30th?

If you are going to do a substantial renovation (major at your property, work that will take at least 30 days).  This is substantial work; not work that can be knocked out in a couple of days. After sep 30th, that can be reason for termination; it’s what’s called, “No-fault termination.”

Prior to Sep. 30th, it has to be due to a health and safety reason. A very significant maintenance reason justifying a termination.

Another reason for termination that can take place right now is owner occupancy.  Whether it be the owner, significant other, children, or grandparents for example, having them move into a unit can be reason for termination. 

And of course we have the at-fault reason which is any breaches of contract from the tenants. 

How much can I raise my rents? 

This is a very common question I get from landlords. The answer is yes; you can raise rents. If you have a duplex or above, you can raise the rent 8.6%, a 5% base plus the year on year CPI change of 3.6% for a total of 8.6%.

Read this blog to learn more about how much landlords can raise rents in California.

Can I do maintenance work on my property?

You can enter your unit to do maintenance work. Of course abiding by the safer at home guidelines, but you can carry out your business at this time.

Other Updates for Landlords and Apartment Owners

Long Beach is working on a housing initiative. Creating a rent control department in the city of Long Beach, and a lot of people are concerned about this. 

The experience of the pandemic and eviction moratorium has left a lot of homeowners traumatized. Some are putting their properties on the market, and some are holding to see if they can sell in a more stable 2022. Once the moratorium passes, that will be the biggest relief for many owners. Going into 2022, the only thing on the horizon is the balcony reconstruction requirement not until 2025, AB1482 will be with us until 2030.

Conclusion and Recap

  • Apply for the LA County Rent Relief Program to get paid and/or have the option to evict your tenants after the moratorium
  • At that moment, if you are going to do a substantial remodel, you need to give notice 60 days out from Oct 1st.
  • You can raise the rent 8.6% if you haven’t done so in the past 12 months.
  • The ADU laws have created housing; the only growth of affordable housing since 2008.

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