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Rental Housing Board Needs Five Divisions, 22 Staff Employees to Operate, Says Consultant

Published on Friday, November 17, 2023 | 4:30 am

On Wednesday, Pasadena’s Rental Housing Board discussed a staffing plan to implement the Board’s mission as mandated by the Measure H Rent Control Amendment. A consultant hired by the Board submitted the plan.

The Board’s operations will become a City department if an ordinance triggered by the City Council’s recent approval of that action receives final approval after its readings. The department would be called the Rent Stabilization Department.

Chanee Franklin Minor from consulting firm BHYV said the department needs five operating divisions. Minor enumerated the Administration and Policy Division, Public Information and Outreach Division, Hearings Division, Rent Registration Division and Legal Division. 

The Administration and Policy Division would be responsible for providing leadership, management and administrative oversight to the RSD. The division will also administer contracts, implement programmatic policies and create strategic plans, and coordinate with other city departments. There would be four staff under this division.

The Public Information and Outreach Division would be responsible for disseminating information about the charter and regulations through drop-in clinics, responding to phone calls and emails, presentations at workshops and seminars, attending community-based events and providing holistic housing counseling to support residents in resolving landlord-tenant-related challenges. There would be six positions under this division. 

The Hearings Division would conduct hearings, prepare hearing decisions, manage appeals, and conduct mediations of owner/tenant disputes, among other duties. There would be be four positions under this division.

The Rent Registration Division would be tasked to manage the rental registration process, maintain the rent registry database, monitor compliance with the city’s rent stabilization and eviction protection provision and provide customer service and support to property owners and tenants. Four positions are recommended for this division. 

The responsibilities of the Legal Division would include providing legal expertise on cases or lawsuits challenging the local law, representing the rental board in negotiations and in lawsuits and providing legal expertise on policy changes and proposed regulations. Four positions are recommended for this division.

In total, 22 positions are proposed for the Rent Stabilization Department.

BHYV is also proposing an additional part-time employee for the department for IT dedicated to supporting the Department.

BHYV recommended prioritizing the hiring of a Department Director, housing counselor, senior business system analyst and senior IT support specialist.

At the meeting, BHYV presented possible operating costs for the department such as personnel costs, operations and maintenance costs, IT support and Rental Housing Board compensation, among other costs. 

BHYV also presented rental housing fees for other cities as comparisons.

A rental housing fee is a charge imposed on rental properties within a city. Landlords must enroll all properties with at least one rental unit and pay the accompanying annual fee.

Berkeley, which has a budget of $7.5 million has a rental housing fee of $290; Oakland, which has a budget of $8.3 million has a rental housing fee of $101; Santa Monica which has a budget of $6 million has a rental housing fee of $228. 

The PRHB did not take action on BHYV’s presentation, which was delivered as an “information item only.” 

Minor said the BHYV will present the proposed budget for the RSD at a future meeting. 

“The board will have to adopt the budget and the Board will adopt the staffing model with the staffing positions,” said Minor. 

The City Council will have the ultimate authority under the charter to approve budget and staffing models.

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