ECHO PARK — For more than twenty years the statewide Costa-Hawkins Act has limited the power of cities to adopt new and strengthen current rent control laws. But as rising rents generate more complaints and concern about the lack of affordable housing, state lawmakers are looking at doing away with Costa-Hawkins as part of Assembly Bill 1506, reports The L.A. Times. Not surprisingly, the legislation has generated concerns among landlords big and small, including the owners of Jensen’s Recreation Center, a city historic landmark that rises three stories above the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street.
Vista Investment Group paid $15 million to purchase the three-story, brick building with 46 apartments in 2014. Jonathan J. Barach of Vista Investment expressed concern that he and other landlords might lose the ability to raise rents without limits on new tenants after units become vacant (increases on existing tenants are capped by existing rent control laws). He said the flexibility to hike rents to market rates when existing tenants move out allows him to maintain his buildings in good condition.“When Vista purchased the 1920s building in 2014, Barach said plumbing and sewer lines were ‘constantly backing up and pipes were bursting,’ but the problems are now fixed. He said refurbished studio apartments at the building are now going for about $1,700. Some long-term tenants who moved in before the area became attractive to well-off young professionals are paying ‘well under’ $1,000. ‘We want tenants to enjoy the building, but it needs to make sense financially,’ Barach said.
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