Industry News
December 8, 20233 min read

Hotel Lawyer: Los Angeles City Council Withdraws Controversial Ballot Initiative

Legal National & International Policy

On December 5, 2023, the Los Angeles City Council removed a contentious measure from the March 2024 ballot which would have required hotels in the city to provide accommodation for homeless individuals alongside paying customers. The proposed ordinance, initially sponsored by hospitality worker union UNITE HERE Local 11, was withdrawn at the request of the union following a compromise ordinance.

UNITE HERE Local 11’s original proposal would have compelled hotels to report their vacancies to the city of Los Angeles Housing Department. Individuals or families would then be given a “market rate” voucher for payment at these locations which the hotels would not be able to refuse.

The measure faced sharp criticism from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers accused Unite Here of creating “an atmosphere of dangerous uncertainty for hotel employees, hoteliers and the City of Los Angeles.” He characterized the proposal as a bargaining chip rather than a genuine effort to tackle the homelessness issue. Following the withdrawal of the ballot measure, Rogers expressed gratitude to the LA City Council for brokering a compromise that removed what he called UNITE HERE’s “ridiculous homeless-in-hotels proposal” from consideration. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety and security of hotel employees and guests, urging leaders in LA and other cities to learn from this episode and put safety first in future dealings with Unite Here.

In order to avert UNITE HERE’s ballot measure, the LA City Council approved a compromise ordinance to replace the original proposal. This new ordinance includes provisions aimed at enhancing public oversight of short-term rentals, hotels, and other properties. Additionally, it seeks to increase the supply of interim housing available in the city and requires developers of new hotel proprieties to replace any permanent housing lost in the building process. The compromise reflects the council’s effort to address concerns raised by UNITE HERE while also taking into account the interests of the AHLA and the broader community.

*See how JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® can help you.

About the JMBM Global Hospitality Group®

The hospitality attorneys in the Global Hospitality Group® of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP comprise the premier hospitality practice in a full-service law firm, and the most experienced legal and advisory team in the industry. Our team of seasoned hotel lawyers has helped clients with more than 4,600 hospitality properties located around the globe valued at more than $123 billion, and have worked on more than 2,700 management and franchise agreements. Our experience provides one of the most extensive virtual data bases of market terms for deals and financings. The hospitality lawyers of our team are not just great hotel lawyers—we are also hospitality consultants and business advisors, dealmakers and facilitators of the flow of capital. We help our clients find the right operator, joint venture partner or capital provider. We know who to call and how to reach them.


1900 Avenue of the Stars, Seventh Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
United States

Phone: (310) 203-8080