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Pasadena Appoints New Director of Rent Stabilization Department

Helen Morales, a veteran of California's housing agencies, will lead the newly established Department starting July 1

Published on Friday, June 7, 2024 | 5:12 pm

[UPDATED] After a nationwide search, Pasadena City Manager Miguel Márquez has appointed Helen Morales as the new Director of the city’s Rent Stabilization Department. The appointment, which was supported by the Pasadena Rental Housing Board, was announced Friday afternoon.

Morales, who currently serves in the California Department of Housing and Community Development, will oversee the new Department established by the Pasadena City Council in December 2023. Her service in Pasadena will begin on July 1.

“Helen’s expertise in rent stabilization and her deep commitment to equity stood out,” Márquez said in a statement. “We are confident she will empower both housing providers and tenants while fostering a thriving rental housing market in Pasadena.”

In her current role, Morales investigates and enforces the California State Preservation Law and the Surplus Land Act, ensuring that cities and districts prioritize offering properties to buyers interested in maintaining affordable housing.

The Pasadena Rental Housing Board, which participated in the recruitment effort, expressed excitement about Morales’s appointment. 

“The Board is excited to welcome Helen,” said Ryan Bell, Chair of the Pasadena Rental Housing Board. “Her proven track record in establishing rent stabilization programs and her collaborative approach will be invaluable as we work together to ensure a balanced and successful program for Pasadena.”

In April 2024, the City solicited feedback from Pasadena residents on the Director’s position, which oversees rent stabilization in the city. The Department’s mission is to empower both tenants and housing providers, ensure fair rental practices, and foster a thriving rental housing community through effective enforcement, education, and collaboration.

Morales’s experience includes various roles in the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the cities of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, and the County of Los Angeles. She established a new Rent Stabilization Division in Beverly Hills and created policies, procedures, forms, manuals, metrics, staff goals, and training programs.

“I am honored to join the City of Pasadena and lead this important Department,” Morales said. “I look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to create a program that promotes stability and fairness for both tenants and housing providers.”

Morales holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of La Verne.

The Rental Housing Board and Rent Stabilization Department were established as part of the adoption of Measure H, a charter amendment approved by Pasadena voters in November 2022. The Department was created to support the Board in stabilizing rents, providing eviction protections, and carrying out other duties set forth in the amendment.

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