The Beverly Hills City Council voted unanimously to lift the last rent freeze in Los Angeles County due to the pandemic.

The board voted on June 27 to allow landlords of rent-stabilized units to raise prices by 3.2 percent for the first time in three years. The only city in the county with a rent freeze is reportedly the city of Los Angeles, which has a moratorium on rent increases until Jan. 31, 2024.

Beverly Hills has a relatively small number of rent-regulated apartments, about 6,500. Tenants pay a median of $2,550, according to conference reviews from the Beverly Hills City Manager’s Office. That’s close to the average rent in Los Angeles of $2,770, according to RentCafe.

The Beverly Hills City Council also approved a rent increase for another category of rent-regulated units with fewer than 200 units. For buildings built in 1978 or earlier, tenants pay about $600 per unit. The increase for such rent-controlled units was 5.94%.

Deputy Mayor Lester Friedman said the council was committed to a balanced 3.2 percent increase. Higher increases have the potential to shake up the city’s rental market.

“After three years of no increases, we have received data showing that 14.9 percent of revenues were not collected,” Friedman said. “This is balanced against the fact that 50 per cent of the units have come to market price due to turnover.”

Dan Yukelson, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Condominium Association, a landlord advocacy group, owns a four-unit building in Beverly Hills. He said the approved 3.2 per cent increase was inconsistent with the costs landlords were forced to bear during the pandemic. Yukelson also noted that the increase won’t take effect until after Aug. 1.

“They’ve really screwed over the last three years. They just don’t appreciate the sacrifices people are making to invest in and maintain rental properties,” he said.

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