May 2019

APARTMENT AGE • MAY 2019 37 owners will be exposed to potential claims of discrimination if they reject a potential Section 8 voucher holder. If the owner accepts the Section 8 voucher holder, then they will be forced into the huge bureaucracy that is the HUD Section 8 program. That involves possible long delays in receiving the first month’s rental payment as well as long delays for inspections, approval of requested rent increases and no supportive services for Section 8 renters. Such an ordinance will only result in more rental property owners, particularly “mom and pop” owners, being driven out of business and depletion of the City’s affordable rental units. In the coming weeks, the draft ordinance will be presented to the Housing Committee for their consideration. We will continue to strongly oppose the “source of income” ordinance and any proposal that seeks to force property owners to participate in the Section 8 program. We will continue to encourage the City to support measures that fix the Section 8 voucher program to encourage voluntary participation. Pasadena – Tenant Protection Ordinance On March 25th, the Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to adopt modifications to their existing Tenant Protection Ordinance, expanding relocation allowances for renters. The modifications were geared to address two specific concerns: (i.) displacement of renters resulting from a change in property ownership and (ii.) displacement of renters with long term tenancies. The applicability of relocation benefits was further limited to income eligible renters (e.g., renters whose income falls within 140% of the area median income or AMI) and in good standing under their rental agreement (e.g., no defaults). In this instance, the Pasadena City Council took a more moderate approach in addressing the City’s affordable housing issues. The meeting also included discussion regarding the City Council’s interest in obtaining a clearer understanding of rental housing, and accordingly, the City Council directed staff to return in 12 months with housing cost data, including average area rental rates and rent increases. During the City Council meeting, we successfully advocated to reduce the qualifying period for payment of relocation benefits by new owners from 2 years down to 18 months. Accordingly, the following modifications were adopted: (i.) requires new rental property owners in the City to pay relocation benefits to displaced renters if during the first eighteen (18) months following a change of ownership, the new owner increases rent in excess of the area’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 5% within any 12-month period or terminates a renter’s lease or evicts a renter without cause; (ii.) increases the amount of relocation benefits payable to the City’s renters from 2-times to 2.5-times the Fair Market Rent as determined by HUD; and (iii.) requires property owners to pay enhanced relocation benefits to renters who have maintained continuous tenancy at the property for 10 or more years. The relocation benefit for these long- term renters increases for each year in excess of 10 years by 10% of the relocation allowance base relocation benefit (e.g., 2.5 times HUD’s Fair Market Rent) amount up to a maximum of 200% of the base relocation benefit. West Hollywood – Seismic Retrofit Assistance On April 1th, the West Hollywood City Council approved measures to assist property owners with the cost associated with the City’s seismic retrofitting ordinance. The assistance includes: (i.) a 25% reduction in building permit fees for residential apartment buildings in order to complete seismic retrofitting, and (ii.) submission of an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for FEMA grants to fund a program to assist residential property owners with the cost of seismic retrofitting for soft story buildings. In addition, at the April 15th meeting the Council adopted an ordinance amending the West Hollywood Municipal Code to permit adjustments for Rent Adjustments applications for seismic retrofit work completed. Long Beach – Tenant Protection Ordinance Long Beach City Council voted to advance five staff recommendations inclusive of drafting a Tenant Relocation Ordinance that would provide rent and eviction regulations for the City. The upcoming draft ordinance is anticipated to apply to property owners with buildings of four or more units and would require owners to pay relocation benefits expected to cover two months’ rent. Relocation assistance is triggered when an owner serves notice of a rent increase of 10% or more during any 12-month period or notice of certain types of lease terminations are issued. The proposal specifies nine actions, such as failure to pay rent or using the premises for unlawful activity that would preclude a renter from being eligible for relocation assistance. The framework of the proposal seems to incorporate a form of “just cause”