Soft-Story Retrofit And Why It’s So Important To You, Me, and Everyone Else in Los Angeles

Soft-story retrofits involve strengthening the weak side of a soft-story building so it can better withstand seismic forces from earthquakes. Soft-story buildings have a weaker (or soft) ground floor. That floor is not capable of carrying the load that is above it. It kinda looks like part of the building is hanging off and is barely supported with some supporting beams. This is dangerous during an earthquake.

Soft-story buildings are an increased risk in earthquake-prone areas such as Los Angeles. Soft-story retrofitting has been done for decades now. There are a number of contractors that offer these services, as well as construction experts, such as Retrofitting 360. They can advise you on how best to go about this.

In areas where there is a lot of seismic activity like Los Angeles soft-story retrofits have been shown to be highly successful when applied by industry professionals like Retrofitting 360. Proper retrofits make soft-story buildings more resistant to seismic forces and less likely to collapse during earthquakes.

Why Property Owners Should Retrofit

If you’re like most landlords in California and in Los Angeles specifically, rental properties have been going through a tough time these past years of 2020 and 2021. Landlords are struggling to collect rent from their tenants. Estimates show that a fifth of Southern California’s renters are behind on paying their rent, and owe up to thousands of dollars in rental payments. Everyone’s struggling. Tenants, property owners, homeowners. We’re all behind on our payments and that’s without a major earthquake hitting the LA area.

The majority of private landlords don’t want to talk about the financial fallout being felt, but one landlord in his 80s says he can’t afford to make payments anymore and that he’ll need to return to the bank the 200 properties he owns.

Previous crises like The Great Recession have made soft-story retrofit projects the norm for many people, with soft-story retrofits being a cost-effective way to strengthen vulnerable structures and save on repairs in the future.

Retrofitting a soft-story building can help it better withstand earthquakes and remain standing for a long time. Retrofits also reduce the impact of other natural disasters like hurricanes and fires. Preparing for disasters helps minimize the loss of life and property damage. Retrofits can also be helpful when there are floods by mitigating flooding damage, ensuring that water levels are kept at bay so you won’t have to worry about water leaking into your soft-story building. Soft-story retrofitting is a long-term investment that pays off greatly. Retrofits help avoid any injuries or casualties from earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Soft-story retrofitting in Los Angeles has been a priority for the city and California in recent years, given their seismic history. Recent earthquakes such as the Northridge earthquake of 1994 and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1989 have alerted authorities to the need for earthquake preparation through retrofitting. Retrofitting soft-story buildings is a top priority due to their weaker nature. Los Angeles is not alone. Cities and counties across California have adopted soft-story retrofit mandates to ensure properties and communities as a whole are safe during an earthquake.

If unprepared and not retrofitted soft-story buildings are at higher risk of damage and death, depending on the magnitude of the earthquake. However, In places where retrofitting is voluntary, most property owners will not retrofit their property. They don’t take into account both the fiscal and physical costs. There is great danger and great potential damage. Here’s what one can experience if unprepared without a retrofit:

It’s estimated one in 16 buildings in Los Angeles would be damaged. Other estimates for this scenario include 1,800 deaths, 50,000 injuries, $213 billion in property and infrastructure damage, more than 121,000 displaced families totaling more than 351,000 individuals. That’s entire families and communities wiped off the face of the planet due to no prior preparation.

Protecting Your Life & Your Property

Preserving your building’s value while also reducing the risk, cost, and time spent rebuilding is a surprisingly easy thing to do. By making some relatively small changes, like adding a retrofit system to your property, you can get protection from:

  • Damage, death, and injury liability
  • Loss of income when your property is deemed unhabitable and condemned
  • Mortgage costs. The bank still wants their money even if your property is ravaged by an earthquake
  • Costs of demolition after a building is condemned
  • Reconstruction costs from major structural damage

Financial incentives are a great way to incentivize property owners to do updates that will improve safety and provide an economic impact. One way that the city of Los Angeles is providing financial incentives for property owners is through reduced development standards. The city also provides relief from nonconforming provisions when buildings either make or have already made certain improvements. Make sure to take advantage of these types of programs and incentives.

It’s important to note that a community that lasts for decades, if not hundreds of years, allows that community to focus on thriving instead of surviving earthquakes. That’s great for everyone, residents, property owners, and businesses alike. After all, you can’t thrive in a disaster. It’s best to prepare in advance by placing the necessary precautions and then focus on thriving.

Retrofitting 360 Can Help You

Retrofitting360 provides a free consultation to help you find out whether your property is at risk. They can also help you determine what retrofits are needed to make your property safe from earthquakes. To help you save money on costly repairs, Retrofitting360 offers help getting the documents needed for the Cost Recovery Plan.

The Cost Recovery Plan is a plan designed around the amendment of Article 1 of Chapter XV of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance of the Los Angeles Municipal Code. This allows a property owner in Los Angeles to pass off half the costs of required earthquake retrofitting to the tenant. It’s a win-win for everyone! Owners don’t have to worry about paying the whole costs, the tenant gets peace of mind from disasters. Everyone in the community doesn’t have to deal with the long-lasting after-effects and trauma of a natural disaster.

Retrofitting 360 is able to help property owners figure out the whole process of the Cost Recovery Plan and in turn, help you save money. They also help you save money by coordinating with the tenants and owners which prevents any misunderstandings that may lead to costly delays. Retrofitting 360 is who you want to provide you with high-quality, up-to-code, and safe soft-story retrofitting.

Get your free consultation by visiting, or calling 1-844-730-0900!