A member of the Washington 16, a group of tenants being displaced a mass eviction of an apartment building in the 200 block of Washington Boulevard which recently changed ownership, told the City Council on Monday that the owners were blocking tenants from receiving benefits from Pasadena’s Tenant Protection Ordinance.
According to the Ordinance, property owners will be required to provide relocation funds and moving expenses to income-qualified tenants in good standing if the tenancies are terminated within 18 months of the date the property is transferred.
“We stood before you with others from the Washington 16,” said resident PJ Johnson. “The Council is allowing community to be broke up with no [regard] for the community. Not without great difficulties, I reached out to Mr. Huang. What I am saying is it has no teeth at all. You’ve asked us to go hat in hands to owners to ask us for what we are qualified for. It cannot work where the Director of Housing qualified us and owners disqualifies us.”
According to City Manager Steve Mermell, eligible households have reached $8,500 on average under the ordinance.
Rents in Pasadena are among the highest in the state. Some one-bedroom apartments in Pasadena cost over $2,100 a month. State laws allow landlords to increase the rent as much as they want.
The ordinance requires landlords to pay relocation benefits to displaced tenants if the building is demolished, converted to condominiums, or permanently removed from the rental market. Landlords can also be forced to pay if they evict tenants so they or their family members can take occupancy of the unit. Tenants forced to move under orders by the government to vacate and tenants evicted from housing owned by educational institutions under certain situations.
Multifamily rental properties with at least two units on a single parcel are subject to the ordinance. Single-family homes and condominium units are exempt.
To be eligible for relocation benefits, tenants must be in good standing, with incomes not exceeding 140 percent of the Los Angeles County area median income.
According to Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP), a poll conducted by David Binder Research revealed that 69 percent of local voters support rent control and 82 percent support a law that would block evictions without a valid reason.
The poll also found high support for rent control in all seven Council districts.
Johnson said the Los Robles 10, another group being displaced, has no idea when they will get funds under the ordinance.
“We appreciate the action the Huang took, but you told us to do a certain thing and then you allowed the owner to supersede that. You cannot have a slippery slope with the TPO. We need rent control.”