Almost two-thirds of Glendale residents are apartment dwellers and rent hikes have sent many of them packing, prompting the city in November to temporarily freeze rent increases above 5 percent while rejecting full-blown rent control measures.
After a pause when Glendale City Council worked out a longer-term solution, suspenseful rental property owners can get some sense of finality to the matter after a 3–0 vote to approve an ordinance requiring relocation assistance fees if the rents are raised more than 7 percent. Dubbed “the right to lease” ordinance, the policy is set to go into effect in March.
MT Evictions has seen many iterations of rent control, and Glendale’s approach is unique. Landlords can raise rents to his or her’s heart content, but there is a deterrence to increase rents too steeply since it will trigger mandatory payouts to outgoing tenants unable to absorb the hike. Relocation payments range from 3–6 months of the tenant’s rent prior to vacating.
The lesser of two evils
Alexanian Apartment Advisors astutely notes in its article on the subject that 98% of owners in Glendale typically raise the rent 5% or less, with many instances of no increases whatsoever and so Glendale landlords have been unnecessarily been painted as greed-fueled landlords when if anything, they have been good stewards who have helped the affordability issue.
While the debate has been skewed and we have always opposed any measure that infringes on owner rights, this ordinance is nonetheless a better alternative to the more onerous rent control rules of Los Angeles. Glendale seems to strike a compromise between housing stability and ensuring landlords still profit from real estate investments.
Owners argue a new regulatory regime will hurt their business and renter advocates say the measure did not go far enough in its limits on rent increases, but Councilmember Vrej Agajanian offers a whimsical definition of compromise. “Both sides are not happy, so maybe we are doing something right,” he said after the ordinance was ushered in.
The new Glendale rules also require landlords to offer tenants 12-month leases in order for renters to budget out housing costs. These long-term leases make tenant screening more important. Providing quick and reliable information to make the most informed leasing decisions is one of our competencies at MT Evictions, and so we can take the guesswork out of tenant screening.
Buildings constructed after 1995 are not subject to relocation payments but tenants are still entitled to a year-long lease. Relocation fees will be lower for Mom and Pop landlords who own smaller buildings with three or four units. Single-family homes, condos, and duplexes will be exempt from the requirements.
Of course, rent increases must be accompanied with proper notice and served in accordance with law, and as always, MT Evictions can facilitate. Contact the landlord allies for informed guidance.