On July 1, 2017, the City of Los Angeles implemented massive rate hikes on owners of commercial property and apartment owners. The Shining Law Firm is fighting these rate hikes arguing that they violate Proposition 218, the “Right To Vote on Taxes Act”. The Right to Vote on Taxes Act was passed by California voters in 1996 as a follow-up to close loopholes in Proposition 13. In attempts to get around Proposition 13’s bans on illegal tax increases without a vote, Proposition 218 calls out so-called “fees” and “assessments” used to circumvent Prop 13.
The specific City program that requires these higher rates is called “Zero Waste” or “recyLA”. The program is supposedly designed to increase rates of recyling by consumers. However, these charges are being forced disproportionately on the impacted owners, in particular smaller owners who are constricted by rent control. The program forces commercial property and apartment owners to use one of seven selected waste haulers in seven pre-determined “zones”. These haulers are called the “Franchisees”. In addition to these increased rates, the City will receive an extra 2% of the gross receipts from each hauler, up from 10% previously. Many impacted property owners are also having to pay extra fees such as pull-outs, locking charges and other fees that were not previously before in Los Angeles under free competition. The Shining Law Firm’s complaint also alleges that these extra burdens are a cost to owners, and thus also part of the illegal tax grab.
The Apartment Owners Association of California is leading the charge as one of the lead plaintiffs of this case. The case is currently a class action seeking an injunction, but notice has been given to the City that a class action for damages may be brought as necessary.
If you are a commercial property owner in Los Angeles and you believe you have been impacted, you may be a ‘putative’ class member. Please call our offices at 310-490-4383 to see if you qualify today.
For more information, see the following recent articles from the Los Angeles Times: