Baldwin Park apartment dwellers are set to receive some relief from large rent increases after the City Council unanimously passed a rent control measure Wednesday.
As part of the proposal, rent increases for apartments in the city will be capped at 3%, and no more than one increase will be allowed in a 12-month period. It also requires landlords to have “just cause” before evicting tenants.
Residents are experiencing rent increases as high 30% and are receiving threats of eviction from landlords for failure to comply, according to Mario Fuentes, lead organizer for LA Voice, a nonprofit organization that advocates for housing and immigrant rights.
“The measure is not 100% perfect, but it’s certainly a very good start as we move forward to provide protection for our residents and the rest of the residential community here in Baldwin Park,” Councilman Paul Hernandez said.
One of the imperfections, in Hernandez’s view, is that the measure only covers apartment dwellers and not those who rent single-family homes, duplexes, condominiums and other building types.
Councilwoman Alejandra Avila proposed the postpone the approval to add those other rental types but received no support. She said she voted yes to pass the measure but was still not quite satisfied with it.
“I’m glad we’re protecting those in apartments,” Avila said. “However, I don’t feel we’re being fair in protecting the whole community.”
The council agreed to revisit the rent control measure in six months to examine how it has affected residents and its potential impacts, positive and negative.
At that time, the council can also add in the other rental types if it hasn’t already done so.
“I would like to have you consider making changes so we can benefit all residents of Baldwin Park, not just some,” Avila said. “They voted for us to be out here to protect them, not just some of them, but all of them.”
The measure also adds a short-term protections freezing rents and barring no-fault evictions, retroactively from Sept. 4 to March 2. These provisions are similar to those passed in other cities to prevent renters from being taken advantage of ahead of a new state law protecting renters which takes effect Jan. 1.
Signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in early October, Assembly Bill 1482 will cap rent increases at 5% plus inflation and prohibit evictions without “just cause.” It will ban move-out notices for tenants in good standing unless the landlord needs to renovate the unit, move into the unit or take it off the rental market. If tenants are evicted, landlords must then pay the tenant one month’s rent to help with relocation expenses.
Because the new law doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, renters are not protected until then without moratoriums like ones passed in Alhambra, Pasadena, Pomona and South Pasadena.Current law allows landlords to issue move-out notices unilaterally without giving a reason, provided the renter isn’t under a lease and gets at least 60 days’ notice, 30 days’ if the tenant has lived in the unit for less than a year.