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‘Right to Lease’ proposal fails to gain support from tenants, landlords

‘Right to Lease’ proposal fails to gain support from tenants, landlords
The city of Glendale's proposed solution to stymie the effects of Los Angeles County’s rising housing costs, known as the “Right to Lease” ordinance, did not receive support from either tenants or landlords during a City Council hearing on Tuesday. (Tim Berger / Glendale News-Press)

The city of Glendale's proposed solution to stymie the effects of Los Angeles County's rising housing costs, known as the "Right to Lease" ordinance, did not receive support from either tenants or landlords during a City Council hearing on Tuesday.

The ordinance, proposed last year, was designed to ease the volatile rental market by requiring that Glendale landlords offer one-year leases to all tenants renting apartments in buildings with five units or more and include an option to lease for a second year.

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Section 8 and other government subsidized units would have been exempt.

The ordinance would have existed as an amendment to the existing Just Cause Eviction ordinance, which requires, with some exemptions, that landlords must provide at least 60 days' notice to a tenant in order to vacate a unit and fulfill one of 12 legal reasons for eviction.

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Glendale landlords currently offer tenants a one-year lease, which then defers to a month-to-month rental agreement once it's concluded.

Despite numerous public outreach meetings in the past few months by Glendale officials to about 90 stakeholders such as members of the Glendale Tenants Union, landlord and Realtor groups, there was no support voiced for the measure during the hearing.

When asked by Councilman Zareh Sinanyan whether city staff members got a sense that tenants were "excited" about the Right to Lease ordinance, Philip Lanzafame, director of community development, said they did not.

"We didn't get the interest that we hoped for," Lanzafame said.

The lack of support was echoed during the public-comment portion of the meeting, when neither tenants nor landlords said they felt the ordinance was helpful.

Mayor Vartan Gharpetian, who was the most vocal supporter of the proposed ordinance, agreed with three other council members to hold off on a vote on the measure until a separate rent-control proposal makes its way through the qualifying process. Councilman Ara Najarian recused himself from voting.

"My suggestion is to continue reaching out, continue the study sessions with the stakeholders until we find out if [the Glendale Tenants Union has] enough signatures to put [rent control] on the ballot," Gharpetian said.

The Glendale Tenants Union has until Aug. 6 to collect enough signatures to qualify for a municipal or special election ballot.

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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