Los Angeles Court Upholds New LA Renter Protections

Susman Godfrey helps secure permanent protections for low-income tenants in Los Angeles on behalf of pro bono clients.

On January 17, 2024, a Los Angeles superior court upheld two critical tenant protection ordinances against a legal challenge by the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA). Susman Godfrey represented tenant advocacy groups InnerCity Struggle (ICS) and Community Power Collective (CPC) as intervenors in the case, alongside co-counsel Public Counsel, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), and Bet Tzedek.

One of the ordinances prohibits evictions based on nonpayment unless the tenant owes at least one month’s fair market rent, and the other requires landlords to provide relocation assistance to tenants forced to leave due to significant rent increases.

These ordinances are critical to the livelihood of many Los Angeles tenants as they approach a February 1 deadline to repay rent accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic. AAGLA, which advocates for landlords and residential property managers, claimed the ordinances conflict with state law.

“We are very pleased with the Court’s decision in the case, which will be instrumental in preventing displacement and homelessness for many low-income tenants,” said Ellie Dupler, an associate with Susman Godfrey who was one of the lead attorneys on the case and argued at the November 2023 hearing. “Our firm is committed to supporting tenants and combating the harmful effects of evictions in a city already experiencing record-high housing prices and homelessness rates. It is rewarding to see this outcome and know the important impact it will have on individuals and families across Los Angeles.”

This is the latest in a series of Susman Godfrey’s efforts to protect Los Angeles tenants. Most recently, the firm represented tenant advocacy groups Strategic Actions for a Just Economy and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment in a case that obtained the first federal appellate decision affirming the constitutionality of the Los Angeles COVID-19 eviction moratorium.

In addition to Ms. Dupler, the Susman Godfrey team included Partners Rohit Nath and Halley Josephs. The case is Apartment Association of Los Angeles County, Inc. vs. City of Los Angeles, et al., case number 23STCP00720 in the Superior Court, County of Los Angeles.