Last March, 15,000 homeowners, renters, and mom-and-pop landlords signed petitions to put rent control on the ballot. Corporate landlords lined up in opposition. On November 8th, Pasadena voters will decide the fate of Measure H.
By Brendan Poon
I’m the captain of my high school debate team, and today I’m going to make the case for rent control.
Rents are skyrocketing in Pasadena. Starting rents are up 20% from last year, and a third of renters spend over half their income on rent.
Existing “rent controls” function as little more than anti-gouging laws. AB 1482 allows rent increases up to 5% plus inflation (maximum 10%) per year and expires in 2030. It also allows evictions for a slew of no-fault reasons including “substantial renovations,” enabling landlords to continually flip their units to wealthier and wealthier tenants.
These lackluster regulations sanction a vicious cycle of rent hikes, evictions, and homelessness. Having a sheriff’s squad pull you and your family out of your home is the last, dehumanizing step before living on the streets.
But even short of evictions, rising rents threaten the 62% of Pasadena households who rent. Rising rents threaten their communities.
Pushing young people out
Buildings or property values don’t define our city; people do. And rising rents push people out. They push out working families living paycheck to paycheck. They push out grandparents who have lived in Pasadena their whole lives. And they will push out young people like me who will not be able to return home after college. My classmates and I are being forced from the city we grew up in and love.
Left unchecked, rising rents will erode Pasadena’s cultural character and flip it into a haven only for the rich.
We need a solution
Measure H would establish real rent control and just-cause eviction protections in Pasadena. It would cap rent increases to 75% of inflation and require landlords to have a legitimate reason, like a breach of lease, for evicting a tenant.
Corporate landlords are out guns blazing to fight this measure and safeguard their profits. But as you’re filling out your ballot, I hope that you’ll remember the working people, elderly people, and young people being forced from their homes by sky-high rents and corporate greed.
I hope that you’ll do the right thing and vote yes on Measure H.
Brendan Poon is a junior and captain of the debate team at Polytechnic School in Pasadena.
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