Below is an open letter sent to Representative Chiu, California Assemblyperson by Michael Millman, Attorney at Law.

Dear Sir:

You and I have met on several occasions.  You’re thoughtful, considerate and charming.  We’ve often discussed “eviction protocols” in your community.  It was a robust and thoughtful debate.  Thank you.

Now, you’ve attended many apartment association events.  So, I’d like you to consider the consequences of the repeal of Costa-Hawkins.

As you’re more than well aware, there are approximately 19,000 rental units in West Hollywood.  It’s estimated there are approximately 25,000 rental units in Santa Monica.  Most, if not all, of these rental units are owned by small families. These owners are senior citizens.  Many are retired on fixed incomes.  They depend entirely upon Social Security and the modest income from their apartment units.

West Hollywood and Santa Monica will soon adopt a “seismic retrofit program” similar to Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities.  This will involve tuck-under, soft-story parking construction arrangements.  It may cost as much as $100,000 per unit and again … perhaps $10,000 to $12,000 per parking bay.  Your housing staff person can verify these amounts by discussing it with representatives from San Francisco.

San Francisco allowed a 100% pass-through to the tenants.  This will not be the case in West Hollywood and/or Santa Monica.  This will create a desperate financial hardship for owners.

So, by taking away the protections afforded by Costa-Hawkins, you will literally destroy an opportunity for these small housing providers to obtain any type of conventional loan.  These housing providers will go out of business and will apply for Ellis Act protection.

You will single-handedly probably be responsible for destroying 30% or more of the housing in West Hollywood and Santa Monica.  If you remove housing, you only promote and increase homelessness and other problems.

Take some time.  Meet with representatives of the apartment associations, Realtors and the Building Trade Unions.  They will all tell you that this bill was not given proper consideration as to the possible adverse consequences.  New development will be destroyed.  Remember, under Costa-Hawkins, new development is exempt from rent control.

In Los Angeles, new tenants pay for water, sewage and trash.  They do so and this has been a substantial water conservation vehicle.  Under your law, that arrangement will be destroyed.  PLEASE OPPOSE AB-1506.     Sincerely, Michael Millman 

[AOA: Please write a new letter in opposition or make a copy of this letter  and send it to your California Assembly Representative and to Assemblyman Chiu at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14300, San Francisco, CA 94102. Go to www.assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers to find the person who represents your area.  Thank you for supporting the industry!]

Michael Millman is an Attorney and a Mar Vista activist and can be reached at (310) 477-1201.