Pasadena Tenant Justice Coalition to seek signatures for petition to amend Pasadena Charter.
By William J. Kelly
The Pasadena Tenant Justice Coalition is launching a petition drive to qualify rent control and improved tenant protections for the June 2022 election in Pasadena. More than 13,000 signatures are required to get the proposed Pasadena Charter amendment on the ballot, said Ryan Bell, co-chair of the Coalition.
Bell explained the ballot provision would amend the City’s Charter to cap annual rent increases at 2-3 percent and limit evictions to “just” causes, such as violating a lease agreement or failing to pay rent. Landlords would be prohibited from evicting tenants in order to attract new tenants who pay more. A new rental housing board established under the City’s Charter amendment would administer the requirements. Landlords could ask that board for higher rent increases to raise money needed, for instance, to pay for repairs and improvements.
The effort comes at a time when 57 percent of Pasadenans rent and over half of them pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent. That makes them “rent burdened,” according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Some 27 percent of Pasadena renters pay more than half their income on rent, which makes them severely rent burdened.
In 2018, a similar effort mounted by the Pasadena Tenants Union, which is part of the Tenant Justice Coalition, garnered just over 10,000 signatures, falling shy of the number needed to qualify for the ballot. Since then, however, Bell believes that residents have become more concerned about affordable housing and are more “attuned to renters’ needs.” Moreover, he said, tenants are better organized and more people will volunteer to gather petition signatures.
For more on the effort, go to pasadenatenantjustice.org.
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