City Acts to Clarify Pasadena’s Tenant Protection Ordinance

Published : Monday, August 19, 2019 | 7:39 PM

Pasadena City Manager Steve Mermell during the August 19, 2019 Pasadena City Council meeting.

The City of Pasadena is preparing to provide clarification on the City’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, according to City Manager Steve Mermell.

Mermell informed the City Council and local residents of the pending update at Monday’s City Council meeting.

“We are working with the City Attorney’s office,” Mermell said.

According to Mermell, the information will be provided in the next City Manager’s newsletter which appears on the city’s website.

The announcement comes on the heels of a conference between Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton, local residents and Housing Director Bill Huang.

During the public session at Monday’s Council meeting, local residents complained that the TPO does not provide adequate protection and safeguards.

In one case a Los Robles Avenue resident facing eviction is currently being denied benefits because his daughter’s income is being counted along with the tenants, thus distorting his financial means, although she has not lived at the residence for some time.

Another child in the same family is ineligible for benefits simply because her name does not appear on the lease.

“The TPO isn’t protecting tenants,” said Ryan Bell. “Even when working, not a solution. Tenants [are] expected to fight with landlords for their benefits. While its a help, its like the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff that flew off the road. There needs to be a guardrail.”

The ordinance, which was adopted in 2004 and amended in 2017, requires landlords to provide relocation benefits to qualified tenants facing eviction.

Pasadena rents are among the highest in the state, with some one-bedroom apartments reportedly renting at nearly $3,000 a month.

State laws allow landlords to raise rents as much as they want. In some situations, landlords have raised the rent by hundreds of dollars. Local housing advocates, including the Pasadena Tenant Justice Coalition, have been pushing for rent control, but so far the City Council has had no public discussions on the issue.

The ordinance covers tenants if they are evicted 18 months after the property changes owners.

Landlords are also required to pay relocation benefits to displaced tenants if the building is to be demolished, converted to condominiums, or permanently removed from the rental market.

Tenants evicted so landlords or their family members can take occupancy of the unit are also eligible for relocation fees, along with tenants forced to move under orders by the government to vacate and tenants evicted from housing owned by educational institutions under certain situations.

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.