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CES In The News
Los Angeles Daily News
Wednesday August 16, 2006
City Panel Makes Condo Recommendations

The City Council's housing committee endorsed a set of recommendations and proposed ordinances Tuesday aimed at tightening rules on condo conversions while protecting elderly and disabled tenants.

The proposals fall short of the moratorium sought by affordable-housing advocates who want to halt the condominium conversions sparked by the recent housing boom.

But Councilman Herb Wesson, who heads the City Council's Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee, said he tried to strike a compromise because the condo-conversion policy could affect development in Los Angeles for decades to come.

"We were able to take a balanced approach to try and protect the rights of tenants. We have to ensure we don't adversely affect property owners, as well," Wesson said.

Property owners, who were concerned that a citywide moratorium could hurt their investments, said the recommendations struck a good middle ground - addressing affordable-housing concerns while protecting landowners' rights.

Developer Brian Dror said the city could encourage more affordable housing without imposing extreme measures.

"Putting a moratorium on condo conversions will have the unwanted effect of ceasing to create first-time homebuyers," he said.

But Alison Dickson with the Coalition for Economic Survival
complained that the recommendations still require two to three months of study before the council can act.

"We're still losing 1,000 units a month to condo conversions and demolitions. These various motions provide some increase in benefits but they don't go to the heart of the problem."

The recommendations include a requirement that elderly and disabled tenants be allowed to rent their unit for two years in a planned-condo-conversion building and one-year in a building slated for demolition.

Also, evicted tenants could get up to $1,000 in moving expenses in addition to relocation money, and they could possibly be able to buy their unit under a proposed purchase-assistance program.

In addition, the city would appoint a task force to study incentives to develop more rentals.

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