Pasadena Tenants Union Endorses Statewide Rent Control Initiative on November Ballot

Published : Monday, June 11, 2018 | 5:45 AM

The Pasadena Tenants Union, which didn’t get enough signatures to put a Pasadena rent control measure on the November ballot, has announced its support for a statewide affordable housing measure.

The Pasadena Tenants Union joined the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and Glendale tenants unions in backing a statewide movement to repeal the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which since 1995 has placed limits on municipal rent control ordinances.

“Why does PTU support the Repeal of Costa Hawkins (Affordable Housing Act)? We believe housing is a human right and renters have an inalienable right to safe, decent, stable and affordable housing,” the PTU said in a Twitter post early Friday.

The statewide measure, called the Repeal of Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, would allow local communities to expand rent control protections.

Last month, the Pasadena Tenants Union collected signatures reached 10,224 signatures to support placing a municipal rent control measure on the local ballot, but fell 2,112 signatures short of the needed 12,982.

But the group said it “will continue to be to bring awareness and action regarding the rental housing crisis and tenant displacement in Pasadena.” The Union vowed to continue the campaign whether or not their initiative appears on the ballot.

“Whether we make it in November 2018 or November 2020 the Coalition will continue to fight for one of the best affordable housing options available, Rent Control!” the group said earlier.

Opponents of the local rent control measure said that the measure would discourage new development, leading to fewer apartments and higher rents.

In March, the Pasadena Tenants Union said 57 percent of Pasadena residents are renters, and 42.9 percent are homeowners. In the past six years, the Union said, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the City has risen more than 51.7 percent, with rents on some one-bedroom units up to about $2,200.

Tenants Together, a California-wide renters organization, said almost 17 million California residents are renters, or about 45.2 percent of the state’s population. California tenants have a median annual income of $36,000, and the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the state is $1,111.40, the group said.

“We’re honored to receive support from some of the largest tenants’ unions in the state,” said Damien Goodmon, Director of Housing is a Human Right, a project by Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation that fights against gentrification and displacement and campaigns for affordable housing. “Tenants’ groups fight every day to protect lower and middle-income families from eviction, harassment and rent gouging. They know that expanding rent control is the quickest way to keep people in their homes and preserve the diversity of our communities.”

Housing is a Human Right is one of the prime movers behind the statewide initiative to repeal Costa-Hawkins.

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