Rent increases for rent-controlled units will be limited to 1.7% this year with a maximum monthly increase of $39.

Rent Control Board Commissioners previously approved the percentage increase last month as well as the date for a public hearing that sought to allow landlords and tenants an opportunity to share their thoughts on the increase before the board agreed on setting the additional dollar cap.

“Under the rent control law, the general adjustment for a given year is equal to 75% of the change in the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles area for the 12-month period between March of the previous year and March of the current year,” Executive Director Tracy Condon said in May. “Using that formula, with the CPI for that period of 2.2 percent, 75 percent of that is 1.65 percent.”

Commissioner Anastasia Foster said shortly after the board had received emails in the past about landlords who had slightly higher vacancies than normal, so they hoped for a greater increase in rents than usual.

“And we had notes from tenants over the past year, saying, ‘Because of COVID and we’ve lost employment, could we have a smaller or no rent increase?’ So, I just want to take this brief opportunity since we have such a short agenda to remind everyone that this is in the charter; it’s not at our discretion,” Foster said. “This is actually based on a five-county average of the CPI and is not something that we, as commissioners, decide. It’s a mathematical formula that is laid out in our charter, so this amount reflects the average of all of the reasonable operating expenses that most average buildings go through and it has been time-tested over decades of data to show that the formula does in fact reflect most changes.”

With nobody signed up for public comment, Commissioner Caroline Torosis said she hopes the public will weigh in on the matter during this month’s public hearing. However, not a single resident signed up to speak on the matter before the board approved the $39 cap on June 10.

“Although I’m disappointed that we don’t have any public comment today, hopefully by the time we are back together in person, we will have people feeling more comfortable to come speak with us,” Torosis said.

Commissioner Nicole Phillis added the Board typically receives a lot of feedback on the matter since it garners a lot of discussion in the community. But with no comments scheduled, she felt it important to share why she’s supporting the cap.

“I worry about the young people who are moving into these neighborhoods who won’t be able to have a say, and I want renters to always have a stake in our community and to have a voice in our community,” Phillis said. “And, obviously, we’re coming out of the pandemic. Our economy is uncertain, and I hope that this will allow the renters to stay in their homes, particularly as some of our other rental protections are going to be potentially going away.”

Landlords can implement the General Adjustment beginning September 1, so long as they present tenants with proper notice.

Brennon@smdp.com