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Pasadena Tenants Say Landlords Using Loophole to Evict Tenants

"Renovictions" allowing landlords to clear buildings and hike rent, tenants say

Published on Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 6:31 pm

Local tenant advocates will call on the City Council to close a loophole they said is in the recently passed Tenant Protection Act. According to a statement released on Sunday, the loophole allows for evictions for renovations.

“There are no protections in place requiring city permits to be issued before notice goes to tenants,” according to the statement.

The release was issued by the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) and the Pasadena Tenant Justice Coalition (PTJU).

“The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 passed in late 2019 capping rent increases at just over 8 percent and creating just cause protections for tenants so there must be a reason to give a tenant notice to vacate their unit. But we have seen those protections compromised by a loophole around renovations.”

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 release 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?”

Tenants at 230 E. California Blvd. allegedly received notices that all tenants were in bad standing. After many months of “playing games” around not cashing rent checks or providing a new mailing address for them, the tenants received a 60-day notice citing major renovations, according to the tenant advocates.

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