An organization representing apartment building owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles Tuesday, seeking relief from the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance by arguing that it violates the constitutional rights of tenants.
The lawsuit filed by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles says that the RSO violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures by requiring that apartment owners provide the city with information on their tenants.
The information includes monthly rental amounts paid by tenants, specific unit numbers, utility payments and onsite parking availability. The city amended the RSO in 2016 to require the information from landlords as a condition of obtaining a city-issued Rental Registration Certificate, without which owners could not legally rent their units.
“The city of Los Angeles’ tenant rental registry is clearly unconstitutional in that it forces apartment owners to disclose confidential data without any sort of due process,” said Earle Vaughan, AAGLA board president. “The city of Los Angeles is merely 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 tenant data.”
Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Attorney Mike Feuer, said the office is reviewing the complaint and has no further comment at this time.
“The city would be better served by obtaining this confidential tenant information directly from the tenants themselves rather than imposing this onerous rental registry on income property owners,” AAGLA’s executive director Daniel Yukelson said.