LA City Council Committee Approves Exploration Of Seismic Retrofitting Fund

A Los Angeles City Council committee agreed Monday to explore ways of helping property owners finance costly seismic retrofits required by law in roughly 15,000 buildings.

The city passed an ordinance in 2015 requiring the retrofitting, but the high up-front costs can cause enormous financial strain on property owners and could prevent its implementation, according to a motion introduced by Councilman Mitchell Englander and approved Monday by the Budget and Finance Committee.

“Providing assistance to property owners required to seismically secure their buildings would directly prevent the loss of the city’s already limited and valuable affordable and rent-stabilized housing stock,” the motion says.

The city could tap into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to pay for the seismic retrofitting assistance program, according to the motion. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund might see an infusion of cash next year thanks to recently signed legislation to charge developers to pay for affordable housing. The “linkage fee” is expected to generate about $100 million annually for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.