LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles is considering a plan to turn thousands of illegal apartments legal to help ease the housing crunch.

On Thursday, CBS2’s Dave Lopez took a look at the proposed amnesty program.

“What we’re trying to do is preserve affordable housing stock,” says James Clarke of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles. “And stop the bleeding that was created when code enforcement used somewhat archaic codes to shut these units down.”

Clarke represents more than 20,000 apartment owners in Los Angeles.

He said his group is unanimous in support of the new proposal.

“If there’s  anyone against it,” Clarke said, “they’re not very well educated on the topic.”

Five years ago, the owner of one building wanted to convert two bedroom units into one bedroom units but was turned down because the building didn’t have enough parking.

According to City Hall records,  in the past five years, more than 2,000 apartments have been shut down by inspectors because whatever changes were made without permits. 

A city official told Lopez that he had no idea how many apartments were operating without proper permits.

“By having a path to legalization,we can make sure these are safe places to live and continue to inspect them,” said Ken Bernstein, a senior city planner.

Bernstein said the amnesty plan would not include converted garages, guest homes or homes that have been converted into small apartment units.

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