PASADENA – ColoradoBoulevard.net:
On Monday, March 28, signatures requesting a charter amendment were submitted to the City by the Pasadena Rent Control campaign.
By News Desk
The Rent Control and Just Case charter amendment would provide for just cause evictions, stabilize rents, and establish a Rental Housing Board and an online Rental Registry. The L.A. County Clerk must validate 13,366 of the signatures for this measure to qualify for the midterm election in the fall.
The charter amendment had enough community support to create a movement of over 300 volunteers who collected an unprecedented number of signatures.
I am so inspired by the massive volunteer effort and positive response from residents. It’s clear that Pasadena residents want more protections for their neighbors and less displacement. And it couldn’t come at a better time.
Despite the pandemic, rents have risen at inordinate rates, sometimes exceeding 10% per year. Corporations have also purchased rental properties, but then have harassed tenants into leaving so rents for new tenants can be increased. The number of apartments affordable by those earning less than the median income ($85,000) for Pasadena has consistently declined.
“Pasadena is for families, diversity and community. It’s a place where people put down roots and meet their neighbors,” said Liberty McCoy who, along with her parents, has lived in Pasadena all her life. “All we want to do is make that easier for regular folks like essential workers, teachers, nurses, and families to stay in the city they love.”
About half of Pasadena tenants are rent burdened, meaning they pay over 30% of their income in rent. A quarter of the city’s tenants are severely rent burdened, paying over 50% of their income in rent. According to statistical analysis of data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the American Community Survey, the risk of homelessness dramatically increases when rents surpass 30% of a household’s income.
Looking ahead to the November ballot, Jane Panandaden, an organizer with the campaign, said, “We can’t wait to bring the same enthusiasm, discipline and volunteer power to the rest of the campaign. We’ve got momentum and we’re going to work every day until Election Day to make sure we win.”
The Rent Control and Just Case charter amendment will:
1- Provide for Just Cause Evictions:
- Limit evictions unless a landlord can show there is good cause, such as non-payment of rent or a breach of the contract.
- Provide relocation assistance if a landlord is reclaiming an apartment or removing a unit from the rental market.
- Close the “renoviction” loophole, and allows tenants to return to their homes if a temporary relocation is necessary for health and safety-related repairs.
2- Provide Rent Control:
- Stabilize rents by limiting increases to 75% of the annual increase in Consumer Price Index (a measure of inflation).
- Limit increases to once a year.
- Conform to State law requiring a Fair Rate of Return for landlords.
- Allow tenants to petition for rent decreases if repairs are not made or services are withheld.
3- Establish a Rental Housing Board with powers to:
- Announce the annual allowable rent increase.
- Establish rules and regulations regarding rental properties.
- Appoint hearing officers to mediate rent adjustment petitions.
- Charge a per-unit fee to landlords who own rental housing in the city, ensuring the majority of the funding for its operations falls to large corporate landlords instead of Pasadena residents.
4- Establish an online Rental Registry that will list all rental properties in the city with relevant data including any violations of building codes or Registry regulations.
The tenant-led, corporate-free campaign raised $125,000 during its signature gathering efforts, mostly from small dollar donations.
Edited by Kate Bartlett and Ann Hunnewell
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