Since 1986, about 5% of West Hollywood’s rent-stabilized apartment units have been removed from the rental market through the Ellis Act. One in ten units was ultimately returned to the market. The rest were converted into or replaced by a larger number of owner-occupied, market-rate and low-income affordable-housing units. That is according to a new analysis by WeHo by the Numbers based on a recent city report.
California’s Ellis Act allows a landlord to leave the rental business and evict existing tenants in 120 days. West Hollywood tenants who are seniors (62+) or disabled get a full year to move. The landlord also has to pay relocation fees to the tenants. The fees are set by the city, which raised them this year. They now range from $6,180 for a typical tenant in a studio apartment to $20,600 for a low-income household.
According to the city report, 764 rent-stabilized units have been “Ellis-ed” since 1986. About 37% of the units (and half of the properties/buildings) have stayed off the market. Either the owner occupied an existing unit or he or she combined two or more units into one single-family residence.
Another 37% of the Ellis-ed units were on properties where new construction has been planned and/or completed. Most of those units probably were (or will be) demolished and replaced by new market-rate apartments or condominiums.
About 16% of the units were converted to a new use, such as a bed and breakfast or non-profit affordable housing. The remaining 10% of the Ellis-ed units were returned to the rental market.
Those numbers, combined with a series of assumptions, were used to create the illustration that accompanies this article. The rent-stabilized units that were Ellis-ed are on the left. Some were replaced by a larger number of newly constructed units. Most of the new units were probably market-rate, but some were inclusionary affordable-housing, set aside for low-income households.
Another set of units shifted from rentals to owner-occupied. Some units were combined into single-family residences in the process.
Among the units with a change of use, some became non-profit affordable-housing. Others stopped being housing altogether. A small group of units were returned to the rent-stabilized housing market.
The illustration shows how rent-stabilized units were lost, converted into or replaced by a larger total number of owner-occupied, market-rate, and low-income affordable-housing units.
The financial impact on Ellis-ed tenants is explored in the full WeHo by the Numbers report, How much rental housing has been Ellis-ed?