Seismic Work Finance Change Sought

L.A. building owners can pass on only 50% of the costs of seismic upgrades, but Councilman Bernard C. Parks wants to increase that to 100%.

By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia | LA TIMES

A Los Angeles City Council member wants to allow owners who seismically retrofit apartment buildings to pass on the costs to tenants.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks said he wants the city to explore exempting these apartment owners from the city’s rent-control law as part of a larger effort by city officials to strengthen thousands of buildings vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake.

Under existing laws, only 50% of the cost of major apartment rehabilitation projects can be passed through to tenants, Parks said. Parks wants city staff to evaluate passing through all the costs to tenants but do it “over a reasonable period of time.”

The idea marks a new front in the decades-long debate in Los Angeles and elsewhere about who should pay for retrofitting dangerous buildings. Twenty years ago, the upper floors of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex collapsed during the Northridge earthquake, killing 16 residents on the lower floor.

Los Angeles officials have known about the dangers of older concrete and wooden apartment buildings for years, but concerns about costs killed earlier efforts to require retrofits of privately owned buildings. Many owners say they shouldn’t have to pay for expensive fixes on their own.

The council is already looking into a state bond measure that would help owners pay to seismically retrofit their buildings. But Parks said the city should first consider other options….



How do you feel about these new laws that may take place? How will this effect you?

The Inman Team


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