Citing high unployment and the weak economy, City Councilman Richard Alarcon called Wednesday for a one-year moratorium on increases for rent-controlled units.

City law allows landlords to raise rents by up to 3 percent a year, regardless of whether their costs have increased. He estimated the one-year freeze could save families $300 to $500.

Alarcon's proposal will first be considered by the council's Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee. He said he hopes to have a measure enacted to prevent increases scheduled for July 1. Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival, estimated that 630,000 rental units in Los Angeles could be affected by the measure.

However, Dan Faller of the Apartment Owners Association of Southern California decried the proposal as "another example of mistreating landlords."

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