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New Procedures for Rent-Related Hearings Get Green Light From Rental Board

Published on Thursday, February 22, 2024 | 6:12 am

The Pasadena Rental Housing Board adopted a resolution on Wednesday to establish clear procedures for rent-related hearings and appeals and address the process for individual rent adjustments.

The resolution officially adopts Chapter 5 of the newly-written Rental Housing Board Regulations, which deals with the petition process and hearing procedures, according to a memorandum for the Rental Housing Board prepared by the law firm Goldfarb and Lipman LLP, which provides legal services to the board.

Feedback from the community and board member input was carefully reviewed before being incorporated into the regulations. This is the first step in setting up the petition and hearings process. The process won’t go into effect until 30 days after the Rental Registry and Petitions and Hearings Database are set up, which most likely won’t be until late summer.

Chapter 5 focuses on the petition process, outlining requirements for filing petitions and pre-hearing procedures. One notable revision in the regulations is extending the cutoff period for filing petitions from 180 days to 365 days after a tenant vacates a rental unit.

In addition, provisions have been added to ensure clarity in petition forms and descriptions of alleged conditions affecting habitability.

The resolution follows the implementation of the Pasadena Fair and Equitable City Charter Amendment, which went into effect on Dec. 22, 2022. Under the amendment, landlords have the right to petition for upward rent adjustments to ensure a fair rate of return on their investment. At the same time, tenants are empowered to petition for downward rent adjustments in cases where landlords fail to maintain habitable conditions or demand excessive rent.

In April last year, the Rental Housing Board was tasked with regulating these petitions and establishing rules and procedures for their administration. Finalizing the proposed resolution and adopting Chapters 5 and 6 of the regulations moves the Rental Housing Board closer to fulfilling this mandate.

Chapter 6 outlines the procedural rules for hearings on individual rent adjustment petitions and appeals to the Rental Housing Board. Key revisions include requirements for motions to disqualify hearing officers based on bias or prejudice, provisions for interpreters at hearings upon request, and guidelines for rent withholding by tenants in cases of overpayment.

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