Mass Evictions? Surge in No-Fault Rent Terminations? Local Realtors Say It's News to Them

Published : Monday, November 4, 2019 | 6:08 AM

Local realtors say they are not aware of a massive surge in rent increases or no-cause evictions designed to beat a state law set to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Citing that upsurge in evictions, Pasadena’s City Council is going to unusual lengths tonight and early Tuesday to facilitate passage of a moratorium on residential rental evictions.

“I am not aware of any evictions that have happened to beat the new laws that goes into effect Jan. 1,” said Todd Hays, former president of the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors. “I haven’t heard any evidence of it, and there’ve been a number of people that I’ve spoken with at great length who are educated and knowledgeable on the subject.”

Foothill Apartment Association Manager Leon Khachooni said landlords come to his organization to get legal forms for evictions. News of the massive evictions claimed by renter rights groups caught him off guard.

“It’s a surprise to me,” Khachooni.

“I’m not aware of any search in no-fault terminations, particularly here in Pasadena,” he said. “I was in Burbank last week where they have a commission for landlords and tenants and they looked at a handful of evictions, but nothing to warrant the type of reaction.”

“It’s nothing above the norm, you know, the 0.1% that’s going to happen whether there’s a new law or not,” Khachooni said.

“I think this is a political move, basically,” he said.

The reported increase in evictions has occurred in advance of the implementation of California Assembly Bill 1482, also known as the Tenant Protections Act (“AB 1482?), which was passed to prevent rent gouging and arbitrary evictions. AB 1482 becomes effective on January 1, 2020.

According to the Los Angeles Times, landlords were told by real estate industry specialists at a convention in Pasadena to raise rents and evict tenants ahead of the law taking effect.

Rent increases across the state have spurred new calls for rent control. Laws in California allow landlords to spike rents as high as they want and evict tenants for any reason as long the tenant receives proper notice.

Realtor Bill Podley also said he had not heard of a spike in evictions in Pasadena.

“I have not,” Podley said. “I have not heard anything of the sort. I’ve only read that it’s happening more in Los Angeles and the L.A. City Council, I believe introduced an emergency ordinance to cease and desist to landlords. But I’ve not heard a word about it in Pasadena or in our surrounding communities.”

However local tenants’ right groups have claimed that local residents are experiencing a surge in eviction notices.

The Pasadena Tenants Union and allied organizations said in a statement they have seen a “surge in mass evictions,” notices since California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill.

According to a statement by that group last week, if unchecked, the surge in eviction notices could amount to the potential “displacement of thousands of Californians,”

But according to Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian the evidence for the increases is the testimony of local tenants facing displacement.

“Most recently the increase was displayed at public comment with many tenants very concerned about recent eviction notices,” Derderian said.

Last week activists called on the City Council to pass a moratorium similar to one passed in Los Angeles that prevent evictions without cause and cap rent increases until AB 1482 takes effect in January. Mayor Terry Tornek promised local tenants the Council would address the matter this week.

In order to facilitate an emergency moratorium, the Council will vote after the first reading of the moratorium. If that passes, the Council will stay up late and have a special meeting at 12:01 a.m. and conduct the second reading of the ordinance.

According to Tornek, local tenants deserve protection even if there has not been a surge in evictions.

“I don’t know how many there have been,” Tornek said.

“But the issue is not the volume. The issue is that there was an obvious gap in the way the state passed legislation when the governor signed it on October 9. Since it doesn’t go into effect until January 1st when it could have gone into effect immediately, it created a kind of a perverse incentive for some landlords to play beat the clock in terms of evictions and increases.”

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