Los Angeles County Code Enforcement Recommendations

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE) has supported an ever increasing number of L.A. County tenants who have reported slum housing conditions as a result of landlord negligence. Despite filing complaints with relevant government agencies, hazardous housing conditions persist. Following analysis of L.A. County’s code enforcement administration, including conversations with County staff and interviews with County tenant residents, SAJE finds that the decentralization of the County’s current code enforcement administration creates an unnecessarily complicated system, confusion for tenants and impediments for County staff, delays in abatement, and therefore harm for tenants living in uninhabitable conditions. 


The County should implement a proactive code enforcement system that is centralized under a single agency in order to foster clear understanding of County department roles and responsibilities and increase efficiency for code violation resolutions. The County should adopt a program structure similar to L.A.’s Housing Department (LAHD). This program should include best practices from LAHD and learn from the challenges in implementing the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP), the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP), and the Tenant Habitability Plan (THP).  The County should also incorporate other code enforcement tools like health and safety receiverships, which are an immediate and effective tools to eradicate slum housing.  


This memo identifies areas for improvement and recommendations. The objective of SAJE’s recommendations are to identify practices the County can adopt to quickly and efficiently resolve code violations and achieve compliance when landlords do not comply or cooperate.


For more information, please contact: 

Chelsea Kirk, ckirk@saje.net

Oscar Zarate, ozarate@saje.net


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