The Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) was scheduled to host a meeting this week on the local rent control movement. Fifty-seven percent of Pasadena residents are renters, according to the PTU, and 42.9 percent are homeowners. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena has risen more than 51.7 percent in the past six years, with rents on some one bedroom apartments totaling as much as $2,200.
In November, three Pasadena renters filed a petition to place a rent control initiative on the November ballot, and they have begun collecting signatures. The measure would limit rent increases, force the city to adopt just cause eviction policies — which limit the reasons a landlord can evict a tenant — and establish an independent rental housing board. Only a handful of Southern California cities have rent control ordinances, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Supporters of rent control claim that affordable housing impacts everything including local schools, while detractors maintain that it leads to a decline in the quality of controlled housing.
“The notion that housing is like any other commodity lacks critical thinking,” Allison Henry, a member of the PTU, said in a prepared statement. “If you opt out of housing, you are homeless. Wages are not going up like housing costs. Jobs depend on housing, and functioning public school districts depend on housing.
Want a real picture of the free market and its usefulness with housing? Look at the 210 freeway at almost any time of the day, or the thousands of homeless people struggling in our midst.” Rent control movements have popped up in Pasadena, Glendale, Long Beach and Inglewood. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a Californian making minimum wage would have to work 92 hours a week in order to afford the average one-bedroom apartment.