Culver City Observer -

CC Council Adopts Rent Control Ordinance; Measure B May Void It

 

October 1, 2020

The City Council this week formally adopted a new comprehensive rent control ordinance, offering strong tenant protections to more than 7000 renters in Culver City.

However, the new law, which takes effect on October 30, could be nullified if Measure B is approved by local

voters on November 3. The initiative was placed on the ballot by Protect Culver City -- a group of local business

owners and landlords -- giving voters the final word on any rental control laws in the city.

At its Tuesday night, Councilmembers approved two rent control and tenant protections ordinances, capping a six-

month effort to offer renter protections beyond the mandated state regulations. The new ordinances include

provisions about permissible rent increases, no-fault evictions, rent registry and renovation/relocation fees for

tenants.

"These are very strong protections, based on what has worked in other communities," said Protect Culver City

Renters (PCCR), a group advocating for renter protections, in a statement. "However, these renter protections are

already in danger...If passed, Measure B will repeal the new rent control ordinance and require any future rent

control to be passed by ballot initiative."

Among other stipulations, the new rent control ordinance calls for the following:

- Permitted annual rent increases will be set to the consumer price index (CPI), the same metric used to adjust Social Security and other programs in order to keep up with inflation.

- If CPI is less than 2%, maximum annual rent increase is 2%. If CPI is more than 5%, maximum annual rent increase is 5%.

- Landlords can pass on half the cost of enhancements to tenants, but they cannot exceed 3% of the rent and must be improvements, not regular maintenance.

- Tenant is evicted based on "no fault" grounds, with the following limitation: if vacated for landlord's relative to move-in, the unit must remain relative's primary residence for three years.

- All rental units must be registered with the City.

Among other stipulations, the tenant protections ordinance also calls for the following:

- Evictions must be based on "for cause" or "no fault" grounds.

- "For cause" includes failure to pay rent; breach of rental agreement; failure to provide reasonable access to unit; tenant's use of unit to create a nuisance or for an illegal purpose; tenant was the resident manager who has been terminated.

- "No fault" includes: demolish; remove from rental market; move-in landlord or landlord's relative, provided they must continue to occupy property for at least 3 years; comply with deed or regulatory restriction.

- Tenants protected from eviction include: long-term tenants who are 62 years old or disabled; terminally ill tenants; low-income tenants; tenants with school-aged children protected during the school year.

- After a tenant has been in a unit for a year, landlords must pay three months market rent plus $1000 in the case of a "no-fault" eviction, except for "mom and pop" landlords. Landlords may not raise the rent to market rate after a no-fault eviction and are required to provide lodging for tenants forced to leave their units during renovations.

"Culver City has made thoughtful and bold progress on protecting renters and we look forward to further change

that will make our community a place that values all of us," said PCCR.

 

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