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Judge Removes California Apartment Association Rent Control Injunction From Court Calendar After Association, City Deal

Published on Monday, January 23, 2023 | 7:34 pm

The City and the California Apartment Association struck a deal last week that removed an injunction hearing from the court’s calendar.

According to the terms of the deal the City of Pasadena and Pasadena City Council will not make any appointments to the Rental Housing Board before April 17 or the date when the court rules upon the merits of Measure H.

The court will fast track the hearing on the case to March 28.

Measure H passed in the November election. It sets up local rent control and requires the City Council to convene a Rental Board made up of a supermajority of tenants.

The law went into effect on Dec. 22 after voters approved it in the November election.

But the Rental Board has not been established. Neither the City Council, the City Manager nor Measure H organizers can enforce the measure — that power resides only in the Rental Board.

The California Apartment Association (CAA) and several property owners are suing the City and the City Council for declaratory and injunctive relief.

The lawsuit alleges that the measure, which was placed on the ballot as an amendment to the city’s charter, nearly doubles the length of the charter and effectively restructures the city government with the creation of an independent rent board.

The CAA lawsuit claims the measure fundamentally changes the city charter and is a “charter revision.” Under the state constitution, charter revisions can only be put forward by the city council or a charter review commission.

The lawsuit claims that several provisions of the new law itself are illegal, including a relocation assistance requirement that would apply to units exempt from local rent control.

The lawsuit also says Measure H removes power from city councilmembers, who have the authority to appoint and remove local commissioners. Under Measure H, the City Council could only appoint members to the rental board, but could not remove them.

If successful, the lawsuit could result in Measure H being declared wholly invalid, though the court also could strike just portions of the measure found to result in a charter revision.

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