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Los Angeles City Committee Approves $58.1 Million Plan to Shield Tenants from Eviction

Measure Ula “Mansion Tax” Funds Allocated for Emergency Assistance

By Dolores Quintana

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council’s Housing and Homelessness Committee unanimously approved a proposed expenditure plan for $58.1 million, generated by the Measure ULA “mansion tax,” to provide support for tenant protections. 

As many Angelenos face the threat of eviction due to the inability to repay back rent accumulated during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, this plan aims to offer critical short-term emergency assistance, tenant outreach, and education, protections against harassment, and eviction defense. The proposal, initiated by Mayor Karen Bass’ office, will now move to the full council for final consideration at a future date.

The breakdown of the proposed spending plan for the anticipated tax revenue includes the following:

  • $18.4 million for a short-term emergency assistance program to help eligible-income tenant households apply for up to six months of owed back rent.
  • $23 million for the city’s Eviction Defense/Prevention program, aimed at expanding the Stay Housed LA initiative through a partnership with Los Angeles County, legal service providers, and community organizations.
  • $5.5 million for a tenant outreach and education program, providing broad and targeted tenant education outreach services, including workshops and legal assistance.
  • $11.2 million for a tenant harassment protection program to inform tenants and landlords about their rights and obligations. The council adopted the Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance in August 2021 to safeguard tenants from harassment by landlords.

Measure ULA, commonly known as the “mansion tax,” imposes a 4% tax on the sale of properties exceeding $5 million and a 5.5% sales tax on properties exceeding $10 million. The revenue generated from this tax is dedicated to renter protections, including support for low-income seniors at risk of homelessness, rental assistance programs, and the construction of more affordable housing units.

While city officials initially projected that the measure could generate up to $1.1 billion annually, the estimate was later revised to $672 million. As of now, $38 million has been raised from Measure ULA.

Prior to the committee vote, housing advocates emphasized the urgency of passing the spending plan. Alfonso Directo, advocacy director for the Alliance for Community Transit Los Angeles, called for utilizing the full $150 million in tenant-protection funds anticipated from Measure ULA to keep people housed and prevent homelessness resulting from pandemic-related rent debt.

Max Sherman, a representative for the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, which has filed lawsuits against Measure ULA and rent hike freezes, supported rental assistance programs funded by the federal government and suggested allocating more money for rental assistance to help tenants pay their rents.

City officials are committed to informing both tenants and landlords of their rights and obligations to prevent a potential “wave of evictions,” as the deadline for repayment of COVID-era back rent looms on August 1. Eviction filings in the past 12 months totaled approximately 27,000, with an estimated increase of another 10,000 in the upcoming year.

Mayor Karen Bass said earlier this week, “I want to close by emphasizing that our goal is to keep people in their homes. The city is taking unprecedented actions to keep Angelenos inside and to make sure that landlords, especially small landlords, do not go into foreclosure.”

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