Lawmakers in Inglewood, California this week used an emergency ordinance to ban some evictions and enact rent control, sidestepping the usual legislative channels.
The unusual move was initiated by the mayor, who asked for a 5 percent rent cap. Tenant advocates, calling increasing rents in the city rent-gouging, coaxed the city council into adopting the eviction moratorium as a last-minute amendment.
The mayor blames a lack of wage growth for the disparity between average incomes in the city and growing rents, although Inglewood rents are among the lowest in the Los Angeles area. The burgeoning city recently negotiated several new development projects, including a sports stadium and thousands of new houses.
Currently, landlords in Inglewood can evict tenants only for nonpayment of rent or activity that constitutes a crime, including illegal drug use. That likely will hamper landlords’ efforts to evict tenants for other lease violations, renovate properties, or capitalize on the increased rental value.
The emergency ordinance contains a stated term of 45 days which can be expanded to one year. However, a memo from the mayor and the ordinance language itself indicates that the measure is designed to maintain the status quo until a permanent “just-cause” evictions and rent stabilization ordinance can be put into place.
In addition to eviction restrictions, rent increases are capped at 5 percent per year, precluding landlords from taking advantage of the increased market demand.
Single-family homes and condos are exempt. The ordinance does not impact the initial rent at which a unit is offered.
California renters recently rejected a ballot initiative that would have paved the way for more cities to enact rent control measures.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.