Glendale tenants file proposed rent control ordinance with the city

A leader with the Glendale Tenants Union presented more than 11,000 signatures to the City Council Tuesday in support of a rent control initiative.

Union captain John Bagdzhyan drafted the ordinance prior to the group’s June formation, but used its members and outreach to help collect 11,186 signatures during the last six months.

Bagdzhyan, who filed the signatures with the city on Oct. 2, was joined at the Tuesday meeting by 10 of the Union’s members, as well roughly 20 residents who support some form of rent control.

“I met hundreds of people who are angry at the conditions of rents in this city [that] are outrageously high, and some of them cannot live in the city. They have to go somewhere else cheaper,” Bagdzhyan told the council.

Escalating rents, a situation he called “unacceptable, appalling and unethical,” are driving the ordinance, he said.

Several speakers asked the council to implement rent controls.

Karen Kwak, a union organizer and renter, said the proposed ordinance asks the city to cap rent increases at 3% a year, allow only annual increases and form a city mediation board to address landlord/tenant disputes.

According to the website RentCafe, the average rent for an apartment complex with 50 or more units in Glendale increased 2% this year over last.

In August, the city of Glendale introduced a proposed “right to lease” ordinance designed to “minimize displacement” by requiring that Glendale landlords offer one-year lease agreements to all their tenants renting in apartment buildings of five units or more.

A city official presented the right to lease ordinance at a recent Glendale Tenants Union meeting. According to Kwak, it was received by union members as "toothless.” She said one member described the right to lease ordinance as “offering a parasol to block out the sun” while tenants “drown” under continuous rent increases.

According to City Atty. Mike Garcia, the Los Angeles County registrar must verify about 10,500 signatures on the union’s petition as belonging to registered Glendale voters in order to qualify it for placement on the next city general municipal election ballot.

Before moving to the ballot, however, the City Council will likely order staff to prepare a report within 30 days analyzing the impacts of the proposed measure. Then, if no legal issues are present, the council can adopt the measure as submitted — with no revisions — or take it to voters.

jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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