Faced With Confusion, Pasadena Clarifies Its Tenant Protection Ordinance With a Set of Administrative Regulations

Published : Monday, August 26, 2019 | 4:37 AM

PJ Johnson, a member of the Washington 16, a group of tenants being displaced a mass eviction of an apartment building in the 200 block of Washington Boulevard which recently changed ownership, airs her complaints about Tenant Protection Ordinance payments from her landlord outside his Arcadia home on Friday, July 26, 2019. Photo courtesy James Farr

In the wake of confusion and complaints regarding the city’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, which led to protests in front of the home of one local landlord, Pasadena’s Dept. of Housing released a set of Administrative Regulations promulgated by City Manager Steve Mermell’s office to clarify relocation payment procedures.

According to those regulations, tenants are limited to one payment under the Ordinance no matter how many adults are residing in a local apartment.

“Payment of TPO [Tenant Protection Ordinance] allowances is limited to one single payment per unit,” according to the regulations. “Regardless of the number of tenants residing in the unit.”

Last Monday, several local residents complained they were being denied benefits for several reasons, including their name not appearing on the lease, or because several incomes were being combined to determine tenant eligibility.

The new guidelines state that for additional tenants living under one roof to receive benefits, those tenants would have to enter into a second rental agreement with the landlord.

Further, “the determination of the household’s income eligibility for TPO allowances is based on the combined income of all adults in the household.”

Tenants may be asked to provide tax returns and banking statements to prove their income according to the guidelines.

The landlord is expected to pay relocation fees within 15 days of verifying the documents. The timeframe can be extended if the landlord needs more time or additional information, according to the new regulations.

The ordinance is designed to protect residents under several different circumstances that could force them to relocate, including eviction within 18 months after the property changes owners, evictions so landlords can move in family, orders by the government to vacate, or removal from housing by educational institutions.

Multifamily rental properties with two or more units on a single parcel are subject to the ordinance. Single-family homes and condominium units are exempt.

To be eligible for relocation benefits, tenants must be in good standing, with incomes not exceeding 140 percent of the Los Angeles County area median income.

On Friday, July 26, dozens of people, including members of a group dubbed the Washington 16, protested in front of landlord Jeff Lee’s Arcadia home demanding Lee abide by the Tenant Protection Ordinance.

But Lee told Pasadena Now on July 30 that he has complied with Pasadena’s Tenant Protection Ordinance and relocation checks had been issued to “80% of the tenants” in amounts ranging from $8,000 to $17,000.

Pasadena is one of only six of 88 cities in LA County to put such an ordinance in place.

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