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How L.A. can fix its housing crisis with existing apartments

How L.A. can fix its housing crisis with existing apartments
A vigil in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles for Joe Reyes, 56, who died from a heart attack after being evicted and forced to live in a tent on the sidewalk. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: There are many apartments currently unoccupied in Los Angeles because they were never properly permitted. They are called nonconforming. (“Crisis? What crisis? California refuses to protect renters even as homelessness surges,” editorial, June 6)

Most are habitable and were converted from recreation rooms or are smaller units made from bigger units. In regular inspections, if city employees discover a unit like this, they make the owner rip out kitchens and essentially make them uninhabitable.

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Instead, how about making sure that they comply with building safety codes and allocate them for low-income renters?

In most cases, these units cannot currently be permitted because the building would have fewer than the required number of parking spaces. If this requirement would be waved, an incredible number of existing apartments would be added to the current supply.

Steve Pokress, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Homelessness is being exacerbated not only by rent increases, but also by the increase in rental homes converted to permanent Airbnb hotels.

This practice reduces the number of rental homes, which in turn also causes rent increases in the remaining units. The state Legislature and not local municipalities need to address this problem, or else homelessness will continue to worsen.

Garth Gilpin, Pasadena

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