Sharing the Burden to Prepare for the Big One


LOS ANGELES - The City Council passed an agreement to approve cost-sharing between building owners and tenants that will lead to retrofitting buildings with mandatory earthquake safety upgrades. 

The decision came after multiple housing studies by city officials and a year of community meetings with stakeholders, engineers, tenant groups and owners to propose the cost compromise. Building owners can only pass half of the retrofit costs to tenants through rent increases over a 10-year period, with a maximum increase of $38 per month. 

The move follows last year's passage of LA's historic earthquake safety law, which aims to retrofit nearly 15,000 buildings in the city with seismic safety measures. The Dept. of Building and Safety is finalizing the list of buildings that must comply with the new law.

"This policy will dramatically increase our city's preparedness for future earthquakes and save people's lives," said Councilmember Krekorian. "As we witnessed in the 1994 Northridge quake, soft-story buildings are vulnerable to damage and destruction when an earthquake hits, putting people and property in grave danger. Our city is moving toward a fair and sensible seismic retrofitting mandate that will both increase the safety of our residents and the health of our infrastructure."