The Los Angeles City Council on June 23 unanimously passed the Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance, a set of bylaws intended to protect renters from the pernicious issue of landlord harassment.
“Tenants have been running out of time and have needed an ordinance since 2013,” said Jenise Dixon, member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, an organization that has been steadily pushing for the ordinance’s passage for years. “Seeing it pass [on June 23] gives tenants a better chance of fighting against harassment.”
The ordinance contains seven of 10 amendments initially submitted by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, 4th District, in the Housing Committee. The amendments strengthen the ordinance through inclusions such as further definitions of behavior that qualifies as tenant harassment and a ban on raising rent for rent-stabilized units that become vacant as a result of tenant harassment violations.
“I am very proud of the step this ordinance takes towards alleviating the intense and malicious pressure that so many tenants who rent in Los Angeles are subjected to,” Raman said. “I am grateful for the leadership of both Councilmember [Gil] Cedillo, chair of the Housing Committee, and Council President [Nury] Martinez, for the partnership of city departments, and the community members who lent their insight, expertise and support.”
Following the passage of the Tenant Anti-Harassment Ordinance, Raman introduced a motion, seconded by Martinez, to monitor its effectiveness in protecting tenants vulnerable to harassment.
“Ultimately, this ordinance cannot be determined a success until it actually proves effective in protecting tenants, especially tenants from the most vulnerable segments of our communities,” Raman said. “We have an obligation to ensure its purpose is carried out across Los Angeles.”
The motion prompts the city to report back on measurable factors by which to assess the effectiveness of the ordinance a year after it has been in effect. The motion also instructs the city to explore implementing its own tenant anti-harassment enforcement program, similar to effective ones found in other cities.