The Long Beach City Council unanimously passed an urgency ordinance that requires landlords to obtain building permits before evicting tenants for substantial remodels.
Councilmember Mary Zendejas requested a draft of the ordinance at last week’s meeting in response to reports of citizens being evicted for remodeling by landlords without building permits.
Evictions for substantial remodeling are allowed under the The Tenant Protection Act of 2019, otherwise known as Assembly Bill 1482, which created rent caps and stricter basis for eviction. However, many citizens felt there was an oversight in the law, allowing landlords to evict tenants without any proof or intention of remodeling.
During public comment, Max Norris said while he was looking at an apartment in Long Beach, he noticed some “rowdy” kids playing around the building, two of which were in diapers.
“I had no problem with that, but [the landlord] seemed to think that I did, and assured me that they were being evicted and wouldn’t be an issue,” Norris said.
The landlord went on to say that he didn’t have building permits but was planning to paint the building to justify the eviction.
According to the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, “Cosmetic improvements alone, including painting, decorating, and minor repairs, or other work that can be performed safely without having the residential real property vacated, do not qualify as substantial rehabilitation.”
Under the new ordinance, all landlords must provide the following:
- A copy of building permits
- Detailed information about the nature of the remodel
- A description of the scope of the work
- A reason why the remodel can’t take place with the tenant in place
- A reason why the remodel requires the tenant to vacate for at least 30 days
Norbeto Lopez, the project director of Long Beach Residents Empowered, said he was dealing with 40 cases of residents facing 60-day eviction notices.
“Forty is way too many right? It’s 40 plus the people that live there, the kids have to go through the stress that the parents are passing on to them,” Lopez said. “All we’re doing is clarifying the law and addressing one of the loopholes of AB 1482.”
The public applauded when the ordinance was passed, holding up neon green signs that said “Close the loophole” and “Housing Justice Now.”
In addition to the new restrictions, all pending eviction notices for substantial remodeling as of Jan. 1 of this year are “null and void and of no force and effect.”
The next city council meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 3 in the Civic Chambers, 411 W. Ocean Blvd.