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The Land Use Section of the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) is charged with preparing and recording Affordable Housing Land Use Covenants (Covenant) when an owner has received a land use concession from the City of Los Angeles or is subject to a City ordinance or law that requires an affordable housing set-aside.

The Covenant obligates an owner to designate a specified number and type of dwelling units for occupancy by extremely low, very low, low, or moderate income households, usually for a term of 55 years. The Covenant runs with the land and is binding on all current and future owners of the site. Covenants are signed by the project owner, LAHD, City Attorney, and City Clerk, and then recorded with the County Assessor’s office by LAHD. Subordination agreements are required to ensure that the Covenant is in the first lien position.

Land Use Covenant Application Forms:

Land Use Concessions and Laws That Require an Affordable Housing Covenant:

  1. Density Bonus
  2. Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC)
  3. Affordable Replacement Requirement (e.g. AB 2556, Housing Crisis Act, Housing Element, etc.)
  4. Parking Variances or Reductions
  5. Zone Changes
  6. Conversion of illegal units to legal units
  7. Discretionary determinations by the Department of City Planning or City Council.

The Land Use Covenant process begins at the Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS) and/or the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP), not at LAHD.  LAHD has no discretion to determine how many units are to be set aside or how many parking spaces must be built on the property.  This determination is made either through LADBS, the Planning Conditions letter, City Council action, or as dictated in City ordinance or law.

Covenant Preparation Requirements by LAHD

It takes approximately 16 to 24 weeks upon receipt of all the required documents to prepare and execute a Covenant, although a complex project may take longer.  Please keep this in mind when planning your timeline.  If the project requires a Replacement Unit Determination (RUD) per the Housing Crisis Act, Housing Element, AB 2556, etc., please make sure you have applied for and received the final RUD before applying for the Covenant. The RUD takes approximately 12 to 16 weeks to complete.

  1. The project owner or owner’s representative must provide documents outlined in the Land Use Covenant Application Requirement Checklist, which can be accessed by clicking HERE. Your application must include the following documents:
    1. Land Use Covenant Application 
    2. Table of Rental Units
    3. Replacement Unit Requirement (e.g. AB 2556, Housing Crisis Act, or Housing Element), if applicable.
    4. Letter of Application
    5. Application for Building Permit – from LADBS
    6. Clearance Summary Worksheet – from LADBS
    7. Planning Conditions/Planning Determination – from Department of City Planning, if applicable
    8. Planning Referral Form – from City Planning Dept, if applicable
    9. Grant Deed (recorded copy)
    10. Preliminary Title Report (must be current when City Attorney reviews draft or an updated report will be required)
    11. Supportive Housing Plan (required for Supportive Housing/PSH projects ONLY)
    12. Subordination Agreement (required for any deed of trust or lien that has yet to be paid off)
  2. LAHD prepares the Covenant with the required number and type of income-restricted units based on the documentation submitted. Affordable set-aside units must:
    1. be dispersed within a project and cannot be grouped together;
    2. reflect the same percentage of types and sizes as the non-affordable units (i.e., if 30% of market rate units are 2 bedroom, 30% of the affordable units must be 2-bedroom);
    3. offer the same amenities as non-affordable units, with the exception of floor coverings and quality of appliances.
  3. The Draft Covenant (and Subordination Agreement, if applicable) is reviewed and approved by the City Attorney then forwarded to the owner for review. The owner is required to sign and notarize two (2) signature pages and return them to LAHD.  Staff will route the Covenant for all additional signatures — by the LAHD General Manager, City Attorney, and City Clerk — and file a copy of the fully executed Covenant with the City Clerk’s Office.
  4. LAHD electronically signs the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Clearance Summary Worksheet after the Covenant has been signed by the LAHD General Manager.
  5. LAHD submits a copy of the fully executed Covenant to the County Assessor’s office for recordation. When the County sends proof of the recordation to LAHD, a copy of the recorded document is mailed to the owner.

Covenant Requirements:  Income Certification, Lease Addendum, & Monitoring

Income Certification

LAHD is charged with certifying the incomes of all households who will occupy an affordable housing unit, prior to move-in. The owner or owner’s representative must collect and review income source documentation from the household that verifies their income is within the limits stated in the Covenant. The income-source documentation must be submitted to LAHD for review and certification before the household can move into the unit. There is a 10-day turn-around allowance for LAHD to certify the income or deny the household. Information on income certification is available on LAHD’s website or by contacting Occupancy Monitoring at 213-808-8806 or lahd.occmonitor@lacity.org.

Covenant Monitoring

LAHD or its contractor annually monitors all Land Use Covenants for the entire term to ensure that affordable units are occupied by income-qualified tenants and that rent levels are in compliance with Covenant restrictions. Owners or their representatives are required to recertify tenants’ incomes annually and submit an annual report to LAHD. Documents are reviewed for accuracy and adherence to the restrictions in the covenants. Owners who fail to submit the annual monitoring documentation or submit incomplete or inaccurate information may be determined to be in non-compliance and subject to sanctions and/or action by the City Attorney. For more information on Land Use Covenant monitoring, please contact Occupancy Monitoring at (213) 808-8806 or lahd.occmonitor@lacity.org.

NOTE – You can access the updated Land Use Rent and Income Schedules by clicking HERE

Fees

The fee for the preparation and filing of a Land Use Covenant is $5,813 per project. For Covenant Assumptions and Terminations, the fee is $1,214 per project. For Covenant Amendments, the fee is $5,770 per project. Additionally, please note that there is an annual monitoring fee of $173 per restricted unit upon receipt of the CofO (all fees are subject to change).

How to find existing Covenants?

  1.  Please click this link to the LA City Clerk Connect system where you can find covenants.
  2.  Once you’re in LA City Clerk Connect,  Follow the instructions below to search for covenants.

How to submit your applications?

Please submit your applications to:

ONLINE:       https://housingbill.lacity.org/LandUse

E-MAIL:        lahd-landuse@lacity.org

MAIL:            Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD)

                     ATTN: Land Use Section

                     1910 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 300

                     Los Angeles, CA 90026

To speak with LAHD staff about your covenant application, please call (213) 808-8843, or 3-1-1 for TT

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