The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Beverly Hills on behalf of apartment tenants and owners seeking relief from the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
The crux of the case is what the plaintiffs feel is an unnecessary regulatory burden on mom-and-pop owner/operators.
"The City of Beverly Hills' tenant rental registry is clearly unconstitutional in that it represents a de facto registry of residents and rents without any sort of due process. The City of Beverly Hills is conducting an ongoing 'fishing expedition" without reasonable suspicion and has discarded any and all probable cause standards in its efforts to gather what amounts to confidential data about renters," AAGLA's President of the Board Earle Vaughan said in a statement.
Under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, owner/operators must register with the city and provide confidential data about their tenants and apartments to the city. Apartment owners must provide information to the government such as monthly rental amounts, unit numbers, utility payments, onsite parking availability and more.
AAGLA is arguing that the City of Beverly Hills is collecting this information without the consent of tenants or owners and without a court order, thereby rendering it unconstitutional in violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibiting unlawful search and seizure.
"The city would be better served by obtaining this confidential information directly from the tenants themselves, should they wish to offer it, rather than imposing this onerous rental registry on income property owners," AAGLA's Executive Director Daniel Yukelson said in a statement.
"The City of Beverly Hills has undertaken a vicious campaign against small residential income property owners by forcing them to comply with burdensome administrative reporting requirements,” he added.
The ordinance has had an effect on affordability, already an acute issue in the area. According to the AAGLA, prior to the passing of the RSO, rents increased by 1.5% to 2.4% per year on average. After its implementation, rent growth spiked to 3% annually.
Yukelson claims that in addition to putting unnecessary strain on taxpayers and multifamily owner/operators the ordinance is costing taxpayers upward of two million dollars a year to salary nearly a dozen new rent stabilization employees.
A similar case took place in 2015 against the City of Los Angeles. Frank Weiser, the attorney who won the case in Los Angeles is representing the AAGLA in this case.
"Other municipalities will likely adopt these invasive policies unless a constitutional legal challenge such as this lawsuit is undertaken on behalf of small residential income property owners," Weiser said in a statement.