One of the iron-clad rules I learned while doing the Better Dwellings portfolio is about to be turned on its head by the city council.
Here’s the rule: Never buy a building with a non-conforming unit.
I learned that rule the hard way at 2117 Clinton St., where we got whacked on a SCEP inspection. Though we eventually permitted the unit, it was only by luck (because we had room to create a new parking space) and spending a ton of money.
Now comes word the city council is considering creating an easier pathway to legalization for unpermitted units.
The theory is pretty simple: In a city with a major housing shortage, it’s crazy to be evicting tenants from perfectly reasonable apartments because they are not permitted.
However, as with almost everything else in LA, the problem is going to come down to parking. Either the city is going to require the units to have parking in order to permit them (in which case the law will be pretty meaningless, because it’s usually impossible to add the parking) or else it’s going to allow units without parking.
If the city is going to allow landlords to permit units without parking because we’re in a housing emergency, why not go ahead and allow developers to build units without parking? That’s the quickest way to get lots and lots of units onto the market.