REAP (Rent Escrow Account Program) is a program managed by the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD). REAP is an enforcement tool created to ensure that Los Angeles property owners maintain their properties in a safe and habitable condition. A property is generally placed into REAP after the property owner has been put on notice of certain violations in an Order to Comply from the Los Angeles Housing Department and the property owner has failed to take adequate and timely action to remedy such violations.
Property owners face grave consequences if their property is accepted into REAP. Tenants may be required to pay their monthly rent directly to LAHD instead of the owner. The owner will be subject to a per-unit monthly charge and fees for each LAHD inspection conducted at the property while in REAP. Notice of REAP is recorded against the property’s title. The owner is limited in how it may conduct evictions and rent increases–during and after REAP.
The number one priority of a property owner who has received an Order to Comply should be to hire a licensed contractor to review the Order to Comply and LAHD inspection reports and repair all violations. If swift action is not taken, the property owner runs the risk of entering REAP.
The procedures a property owner must comply with in order to remove his or her property from REAP are complicated and can take several months, if not longer. Once in REAP, beyond hiring a contractor to perform repairs, there are hearings, re-inspections, fee schedules, potential appeals and other restrictions and timelines to follow. I will be posting a general timeline of responsibilities associated with REAP in the near future.
It can be beneficial for a property owner in REAP to consult with a real estate attorney familiar with the policies of REAP and the Los Angeles Housing Department.
For more information on REAP, visit the Los Angeles Housing Department website.