Community Group Calls for Fiscal Responsibility
Call for End to Interim Rent Control Ordinance
May 14, 2020
The letter is as follows:
Dear Honorable Mayor, Vice-Mayor, Council Members and Staff:
Re: Realignment of City Budget due to COVID-19 Shutdown and Losses in Revenue
In light of the pandemic and its devastating impacts at all levels of society, the Culver City Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility (CCCFR), comprised of local residents, business operators and organizations, call upon our city leaders to expeditiously reevaluate funding priorities.
With the city's recent declaration of a Fiscal Emergency, which has been further exacerbated by a shutdown-induced declining revenue stream, the city must take action to suspend and/or pare back non-essential programs and services, redirect resources toward programs that will best address and serve our community's greatest needs and expand the safety net offered to those who have been most harmed.
Given the California state renter protections put in place this past year, one program that merits immediate consideration for termination is the Interim rent control Ordinance (IRCO). Variations between the protections offered under IRCO and statewide rent control do not justify this continued investment.
The high cost of continuing to fund IRCO is not in the best financial interest of the city or its residents, especially when compounded with the potential million-dollar plus annual cost of establishing and maintaining a permanent local rent control ordinance. Further, circumstances have changed, and today's rental market is markedly different from when IRCO was initially conceived and placed into service.
• Fast track the budget review and realignment process: Identify programs and services to suspend and/or pare back. Redirect a significant portion of those funds for COVID-19 related assistance programs for affected residents and businesses.
• Terminate IRCO: When the local ordinance was enacted there was a desire to limit rent increases due to some previous large rent hikes. This was prior to passage of the statewide renter protections and cap on rent increases law (AB1482). Both these measures provide for strong tenant protections and prevent excessive rent increases. Additionally, as a result of the shutdown and according to CoStar data, local rents are falling at an annualized rate of 5%.
• Suspend Rental Registry efforts: Creating a Rent Registry prior to determining if the City will even have a permanent rent control Ordinance in light of AB1482 and AB2406 is wasteful. Until such time as all voices can be heard regarding the future of IRCO and possibly until the state legislature acts on AB2406 regarding a statewide rental registry, pause this costly initiative.
• Defer to AB1482: Allow statewide rent control to self-regulate as is being done in every other city in the state that doesn't have a local rent control ordinance. No evidence exists to support the notion that the city needs to establish its own staffing and infrastructure to oversee and enforce AB1482. Numerous tenant advocacy groups are available to support tenants should a perceived enforcement issue or any other landlord/tenant issue arise. Penalties are substantial for owners who fail to comply with AB1482. Additionally, the city's existing Landlord Tenant Mediation Board could have its duties expanded to assist in any related matters.
• Redirect previously allocated IRCO funding: Identify, expand and/or develop programs that help tenants based upon need, thus ensuring that benefits specifically target those who need assistance.
On behalf of the Culver City Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility (CCCFR), we look forward to supporting our city's efforts to develop fiscally responsible pathways in which to aid those most affected by this pandemic.
Culver City Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility
Small Landlord have been particularly hard hit by the council's recent move extending the repayment of the unpaid rent out 1 year. There is no requirement for tenants to repay any portion of the back rent before the year ends. At a recent council meeting Mayor Goran Eriksson was concerned that renters would not have the funds to make what amounts to a balloon payment on the back rent.
The Signatories to the letter were not revealed in the letter received however sources told the Observer that when the letter is delivered to city hall there will be numerous signers.