The Los Angeles City Council Friday passed a resolution to support an assembly bill that creates a tax on large corporate landlords and use the revenue for rental assistance, legal services to prevent evictions, services for people experiencing homelessness and more.
"Currently, 500,000 properties in California are owned by corporations, and over 250,000 properties are owned by entities that own 10 more properties," the resolution, introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, stated. "Growing research suggests that large corporation landlords are more likely to acquire available homes, raise rents, evict tenants and operate rental units with habitability issues, as compared to smaller mom-and-pop landlords."
California Assembly Bill 1199 would impose an annual excise tax on landlords that own 10 or more single-family properties or 25 or more single-and multi-family properties in an effort "to discourage the further consolidation and commodification of single-family homes, to create opportunities for families to purchase homes and build wealth and to fund essential services."
The tax revenue would be disbursed into the Homes for Families Fund and used for:
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- rental assistance and relief for tenants;
- legal services to prevent evictions, harassment and violations of law by landlords;
- services and programs for people experiencing homelessness;
- the preservation and production of affordable housing;
- housing counseling services to promote home ownership;
- job training apprenticeship programs; and
- support for landlords who own less than 10 properties and lost rental income due to COVID-19.
The bill would also require registration of all corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, trusts and similar entities that own property in California that was rented or leased in the previous calendar year.
The information would be compiled into a searchable database for the public to access.
"As many of us saw through the course of the economic recession in the last bubble, we saw a lot of transfer of private property through the acquisition of corporate landlords. And many residents, tenants have lost the access to housing that has greater affordability but more important, it's creating a huge wealth transfer," Martinez told council members before the vote.
"This is our opportunity to make sure that we have greater transparency in the ownership of these properties because we can't continue to have this level of wealth transfer."
The resolution passed with 14 yes votes and one absent.