Pasadena City Council implements voter-approved rent control law
The Pasadena City Council on Monday added Measure H rent control and eviction protections to the city’s charter.
The rent control law rolls back rents to May 2021 levels and adjusts future rent increases “to 75% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for multifamily rental units built before February 1, 1995,” according to a council resolution. Measure H, which voters approved 53.8% to 46.2%, also prohibits “evictions from rental units, except for just cause based on 11 specified criteria.”
The measure also establishes an 11-member Rental Housing Board, which will determine allowable rent increases, oversee disputes on rent adjustments between tenants and landlords and establish penalties for violations of the new rent control law. Seven of the council-appointed board members must be tenants with no financial interest in rental property, one from each of the city’s council districts.
Prospective board members must submit an application to the City Council with at least 25 signatures of Pasadena residents, according to the measure. The standard term on the Rental Housing Board is 4 years, and members will earn maximum 20 hours weekly pay at 2.5 times the Pasadena minimum wage. This compensation is funded by a “Rental Housing Fee” that landlords must pay annually.
Measure H highlights the severe economic burdens that skyrocketing rents are imposing on low- and middle-income people.
“The median gross rent in Pasadena has increased by 32.0 percent (from $1287 to $1669) between 2012 and 2018 while the Consumer Price Index … has increased by 12.4 percent over the same period, resulting in an effective 17.5 percent increase in median rent,” the law states. “A majority of Pasadena tenant households are rent-burdened. In 2018, an estimated 54 percent of renter households (15,446 households) were paying 30 percent or more of their income toward rent, and 31 percent of renter households (8,847) were severely rent-burdened, paying 50 percent or more of their income towards rent.”
The new rental property regulations take effect Dec. 22.
“I urge the council to put aside political differences and commit to a smooth implementation,” Ashay Patel of the Pasadena Tenants Union told council members. “The city charter has now doubled in length, and the council has a responsibility to inform residents of their new rights.”
Councilwoman Jess Rivas, who won reelection to the 5th District council seat in November, appeared with the Tenants Union on the steps of City Hall to announce the implementation of the new rent control law.
“Measure H … will prevent excessively large rent increases that amount to de facto eviction notices and will provide real eviction protections to renters,” Rivas said at her swearing in ceremony Monday.
Newly elected Councilman Jason Lyon said in a statement tweeted by the Tenants Union: “This is a groundbreaking initiative for Pasadena. As an incoming councilmember, I am committed to working with City staff to realize the people’s will as soon as possible.”