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We Get Letters: Landlords Will Be Treated Fairly

Published on Thursday, May 19, 2022 | 12:37 pm

Dear Editor,

I read with puzzlement the comments from Todd Hayes about what he thinks the rent control and just cause ballot measure entails. I think I can put his worries about “taking private property” to rest. The truth is actually the opposite of what he fears.

The California Constitution guarantees landlords a fair return on their investment. That makes real estate investments the only type of investment protected by constitutional law. I’m sure investors of other types would love to have constitutionally guaranteed profit. Under our measure, if a landlord’s operating expenses exceed the Consumer Price Index they can appeal to the rental board for a one time exception to the price cap. What landlords will no longer be able to do is simply claim that their expenses are going up faster than they really are. They’ll have to demonstrate it.

As we’ve walked our city and talked to more than 20,000 Pasadena residents over the past year what we’ve found is that most small landlords (the so-called mom and pop landlords) are not worried about our rent control measure. Many signed the petition. They understand that under our measure they can raise the rent each year. They have no desire to price gouge their tenants. They’re not going to do it with or without a rent control law. This measure is designed to stop the bad actors who raise the rent 10%, 15%, 25% all at once, which is a de facto eviction without cause.

Those landlords who have been living within their means, managing their business carefully, with care for the community, will do just fine under our law, and the California Constitution has their back.

Ryan Bell
Pasadena tenant

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3 thoughts on “We Get Letters: Landlords Will Be Treated Fairly

  • I read with shock the comments from Ryan Bell. I don’t know any small landlords who are in favor of this proposed taking of private property rights. If he does in fact have this data, he should share it. The “rental board” he speaks of will be group of unlicensed tenant advocates – yes, it will be like asking your tenant if you can raise their rent, or if it’s okay to move your aging parent in. This ordinance takes away a wide swath of private property rights. That, and that alone, is why we should all be opposed to it. One part of Mr. Bell’s letter is true, “…most small landlords have no desire to gouge their tenants.”

  • Thanks for the excellent answer to Mr. Hayes’ concerns. It’s also important to remember that during the Great Recession corporate bodies bought up many thousands/millions of homes for rentals . These are the greedy ones, not the local mom and popowners.

  • In response to Todd’s comment, I feel the need to point out that the rental board must approve rent increase petitions in such way as to meet the fair return standard laid out in the law or it will open itself up to legal challenge from higher courts. It will not be like “asking your tenant” if you can increase the rent.

    Furthermore, moving in an elderly relative is in fact an allowed just cause for eviction in the charter amendment. Landlords will still be able to do that.

    Unfortunately we don’t have quantitative data on how many mom and pops signed the petition (we weren’t asking everyone.) However, I personally collected signatures from at least 20 small-time landlords in my neighborhood and had some really great conversations. You’ll have to take my word for it.