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 Local Advocacy Update
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Oxnard City Council Takes Steps Towards Local Rent Control
At the October 19th City Council meeting, the Council received a report on rent control and potential other renter protection strategies for their consideration. Following a lengthy public comment, the Council discussed the issues of housing affordability, housing habitability, and stagnant wages. Following Council deliberations, a motion was unanimously advanced directing staff to draft a local ordinance version of Assembly Bill 1482, the statewide rent control and renter protection law, setting a 5% rent increase cap and an expiration date of 2030. In addition to the drafting of an ordinance, the motion also directed that staff return with a proposal for a public education program and an enforcement mechanism for the local rent control ordinance. The motion also supported the advancement of staff’s short-term and long-term recommendations related to affordable housing production, increasing use of density bonuses to incentivize affordable housing development, enforcement of existing inclusionary housing requirements, and the Employee Pipeline program.
In a letter submitted to the City Council prior to the meeting and during the meeting’s public comment period, the Association expressed strong opposition to any form of rent control or rent regulations, that rent control will not solve the City’s housing affordability gap, that rent control will decrease the quality and quality of rental housing in the City and will discourage development of new rental units. We also highlighted the fact that rent control measures provide a benefit to a small number of individuals who are encouraged to remain in their lower-cost apartments even when their financial earnings significantly increase, at the expense of lower-income residents in need of affordable housing who must now move elsewhere. Ultimately, rent control only harms the very individuals that it is intended to help.
The Association recommended that the City Council allow for the State’s comprehensive rent control and renter protection law, Assembly Bill 1482, to be fully implemented. Based on the City’s Staff report’s assertion that individuals are not aware of Assembly Bill 1482, we recommended that the City establish a robust community education and outreach campaign to ensure that Oxnard renters and rental housing providers are knowledgeable of existing laws and local regulations, their related rights and responsibilities, and available programs and resources. We also encouraged the City Council to explore instituting an emergency rental voucher program for struggling residents coupled with supportive services and a voluntary mediation program.
It is anticipated that City staff will return with a draft ordinance and the requested proposal in January 2022. The Association will continue to engage in a dialogue with
the City, strongly advocate for our members interests and provide updates.
West Hollywood City Council Seeks Expansion of Rent Registration Requirements to ALL Rental Units
At the October 4th West Hollywood City Council meeting, the Council directed staff to draft an ordinance expanding the City’s rent registration requirements to all rental units, requiring all units to re-register upon a new tenancy and for staff to also analyze and calculate a registration fee for those non-rent stabilized units, subject to Council approval. Currently, the City’s rent registration requirements apply only to units subject to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO).
Prior to the meeting, the Association submitted a letter to the City Council expressing strong opposition to rent registries and the City’s consideration of any further expansion to their existing rent registry. We have ongoing litigation in both the Cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills for their rent registries. Rent registries result in the disclosure of confidential information and impose financial and administratively burdensome requirements on small business rental housing providers. We will continue to monitor this matter, advocate for our members interests and provide updates.
West Hollywood City Council Amends Formula For Calculating Interest on Security Deposits
At the September 20th City Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution instituting amendments to the City’s rent stabilization regulations relative to the security deposit interest rate formula. The resolution was adopted on consent, with no Council discussion. On or before September 1st of each year beginning in 2022, the Rent Stabilization Commission will announce the interest rate to be paid on security deposits for that calendar year. The rate calculation will be based on averaging the interest rates for savings accounts of five online FDIC insured banks and rounding to the nearest one-tenth of one percent. The resolution also includes information regarding the timing of payments made to renter.
In a letter to the City Council, submitted by the Association prior to the Council meeting, we recommended that the Council also consider allowing rental housing providers to add the annual interest onto the security deposit balance and for the security deposit inclusive of the interest accrued to be paid to the renter at the same time that the security deposit is refunded at the end of the tenancy.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions regarding your property or specific tenancies and the requirements of any local law changes described, please consult with an attorney.
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