The Glendale Tenants Union submitted a proposed rent stabilization ordinance on Tuesday to the city of Glendale, which began the formal process of placing the initiative before voters on the November 2018 ballot, according to a statement released by the organization.
The city now has 15 days to respond with an official summary, where the union must then collect 10,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Written as the “Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act,” this is the organization’s second attempt to introduce rent control in the city since forming last year.
Previously, the union submitted more than 11,000 signatures, but the petition was kicked back by City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian due to administrative-compliance issues with state election codes.
“The union decided to do it again because people are losing their homes all over the city,” said Mike Van Gorder, the union’s co-founder. “We needed to start with lawyers this time.”
With help from a pro-bono legal team, a template for a rent control measure was drafted that included policy choices from the union with consideration of Glendale’s city code and its existing just-cause eviction ordinance, which requires, with a few 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.
The organization’s proposal would regulate a number of rental agreements, chief among them the amount of rent a landlord can charge, capped at an annual increase of 4%.
It also sets up the establishment of an independent, appointed rent board as well as an amendment to the the just-cause ordinance that would eliminate a protection exemption for landlords who want to evict renters who have signed a one-year lease.
“These are scary times when rent goes up and people’s incomes are not,” Van Gorder said. “Just hoping you can find something cheaper somewhere else is a zero sum game. There are only so many places you can move before you lose connection to a place.”
The union is a citizen-led group that advocates for renters’ rights in Glendale and meets on the second Monday of every month in the First Baptist Church of Glendale, 209 N. Louise St.
For more information, visit glendaletenants.org.