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Burbank to consider relocation assistance for renters

Burbank to consider relocation assistance for renters
Burbank officials are considering a relocation-assistance ordinance that could help renters in the city facing certain hardships. (File Photo)

Burbank renters who might be in danger of losing their homes could receive help from the city through a proposed relocation-assistance ordinance.

The City Council unanimously voted during a meeting on Tuesday to direct staff to draft the ordinance, which would be similar to what Pasadena offers its residents.

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Burbank’s proposed ordinance would require landlords to pay low-income tenants who are in good standing a relocation allowance if the tenant is required to vacate their unit due to demolition or if the unit is red-tagged.

Other proposed requirements include that the ordinance only apply to multifamily units and that household income not exceed 140% of the Burbank-area median income.

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Maribel Leyland, Burbank’s housing authority manager, said the city currently has a municipal code that provides relocation assistance to tenants if their unit is being converted into a condominium.

It requires landlords to give at least a 180-day notice of the conversion project and provide $2,500 per unit to ousted residents. Households with disabled tenants may receive an additional $2,500.

In addition, landlords must give affected tenants the exclusive right to purchase one of the condo units when they are completed.

Leyland cautioned the City Council on moving forward with a relocation-assistance ordinance because there may be unintended consequences.

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She said there might be fewer available affordable units because landlords might be hesitant to rent to low-income households and instead seek out higher-income renters, which could increase the price of units.

Additionally, landlords might pass on the relocation-assistance cost to other tenants, which could result in higher rents.

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