WeHo mulls stronger rules against tenant harassment

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The West Hollywood Rent Stabilization Commission reviewed changes to municipal law recommended by city staff at their meeting on Thursday night.

Staff Attorney Jonathan Holub presented new measures to clarify and “broaden the scope” of what constitutes tenant harassment by landlords — essentially any action taken for the purpose of “vexing and harassing” tenants in rent-controlled units in order to drive them out. 

The new statutes would level $10,000 statutory fines for landlords found responsible for harassing their tenants in ways such as 

●  unnecessary repeated entry into their units

●  changing the locks on their tenants,

●  embarking on construction projects that intentionally create uninhabitable conditions for their tenants

● accepting exchanging sexual conduct in exchange for rent

● ask for citizenship or medical records

All the commissioners were generally of the new measures though Commissioners Richard Maggio and Kellan Martz expressed concern about the specificity of the language in the new code.

Commissioner Kimberly Copeland also recommended stronger penalties when harassment was directed toward tenants who were senior citizens and/or disabled, which all her fellow commissioners also supported.

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The commission also elected John Kurpies as its vice chairperson, and new member Estevan Montemayor was sworn in.

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Joshua88
Joshua88
3 years ago

Until you start charging fines for harassment, unnecessary, and bad behavior by landlords, they will not change.

JJ1
JJ1
3 years ago

I’m sorry, but aren’t all those things already not allowed?

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years ago

While the items set forth are egregious, landlord harassment takes on so many different forms, including trying to change the rules on pet ownership, parking spaces and even potted plants. The City needs to be willing to take on cases where there is a pattern of harassment that put tenants in danger of losing their units. While this ordinance is helpful, the weak link in the chain is the City’s unwillingness to be aggressive with landlords who have a history of harassing long term tenants who tend to be older and who are often fearful of speaking out.

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Indeed. Not just our city.

William Seegmiller
William Seegmiller
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thanks for your insight

Scott Sigman
Scott Sigman
3 years ago

How about the fact the landlord stops fixing things because I am annoying he says, I fixed the sewer pipe line for the duplex and no one says thanks just asks me to stop asking to fix things…oh he lied about everything when showing us the duplex.
He said we would have Washer/dryer nope we bought—he said when we could move in—nope appliances not installed—even said he would let us know if the other side was rented-apparently he allowed the renters to -it in a fence in the backyard?

Joshua88
Joshua88
3 years ago
Reply to  Scott Sigman

These things are supposed to be in writing, or *oh well.*

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