The Pasadena Tenants Union called on the City Council to close a loophole in the state’s AB1482, the Tenant Protection Act (TPA).
The loophole allows for evictions for renovations, they said.
“Landlords may serve tenants a notice to quit if they intend to do ‘substantial remodeling’ of the property,” said Jane Panangaden. “There is no mechanism in place to check that there is actually work planned, so a landlord can simply claim they are going to do renovations and the tenants have no way of knowing whether this is true or whether it is just an excuse to get them out. At the Tenants Union we have already seen such ‘reno-victions’ take place in Pasadena.”
The reno-victions allow landlords to get around the TPA, which prohibits landlords from raising the rent more than 5 percent plus inflation each year for ongoing tenancies.
It also prohibits landlords from evicting tenants without having just cause.
“There are no protections in place requiring city permits to be issued before notice goes to tenants,” according to the statement.
Locally, skyrocketing rents have long been an issue, with some one-bedroom apartments costing $3,000 to rent. The PTU and the Glendale Tenants Union unsuccessfully pushed for rent control last year. The Pasadena efforts were supported by the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education, which has been forced to close schools, cut programs and layoff teaches due to declining enrollment as parents move east where housing is more affordable.
The PUSD has lost 1,170 students over the past five years. The district makes about $10,000 per student in average daily attendance funds from the state.
According to the PTU, the loophole is being used to clear buildings of tenants, and then reopened with units brought back with minimal renovations and higher rent leading to more tenants being displaced, and an increase in the area market rate for rent.
“I’ve lived in my apartment for the last 23 1/2 years,” said Marie Perez. “In spite of several years in a row when the rent was raised 10 percent + yearly, the previous owner or owners did not maintain the building as they should have. Because of this, the new owners have been able to give my neighbors and me 60-day notices, and if we were allowed to stay, our rent would go up at least $1,000/month. How can we find decent, affordable housing, and why must homeowners be the only ones to be able to set down roots for decades in the same neighborhood?”