“The least desirable for us as far as negotiation is they have no debt to the city,” said Cervantes. “This is a property owner that would typically benefit from going market rate.”

But Raphael Bostic, a professor at USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate, said many landlords won’t find those incentives very enticing.

“If you think about Los Angeles, where rents have gone up a lot … very few landlords would agree to miss out on that potential forever,” he said.

Habibi agreed, noting the city’s incentives are unlikely to match what an owner could earn through market-rate rents.

“The delta between market rate and affordable rate for that many units over a future time interval is not chump change,” he said.

One property facing an imminent rent increase is the Santa Fe Art Colony downtown, a 57-unit artist complex whose 30-year rent restrictions will expire in October.

“If the rent goes up, I’ll have to move,” said Matt Aston, a low-income artist who has lived at the property for 15 years. He pays $981 a month in rent for a 1,217-square-foot loft.

Aston said he has received notice that his rent will increase by more than 50 percent. Several other artists have also received notice. A handful, whose rents have remained very low because they’ve lived in the building for 30 years, would see their rents double.

“They knew when they moved in what the situation was. We’ve lived up to our bargain with the city,” said Colony co-owner Marvin Zeidler, noting the extra money would go toward repairs and remodeling.

He also said the new rents would still come in below market rate and that the building would be geared toward artists.

The tenants, however, hope to meet with the city to help devise a potential solution.

“We’re interested in protection rather than the goodwill of the owners,” said Sylvia Tidwell, head of the Colony Tenants Association.

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