By Terry Miller
A coalition of tenants’ rights advocates held a press conference in support of an immediate rent freeze and moratorium on no-fault evictions Monday night on the steps of Pasadena City Hall in preparation for an exceptionally long night at Monday’s regular council meeting.
The City Council put this issue on Monday’s regular agenda, with a second late night meeting and reading at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5.
City Council Monday eventually approved an expanded Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) that places a freeze on evictions without just cause and rolled back rents backdated to March 15, 2019 for tenants who may still be in the eviction process. The ordinance also capped Pasadena rent increases to match the pending Tenant Protection Act: AB 1482. The State bill goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
This bill would, with certain exceptions, prohibit an owner, as defined, of residential real property from terminating a tenancy without just cause, as defined, which the bill would require to be stated in the written notice to terminate tenancy when the tenant has continuously and lawfully occupied the residential real property for 12 months, except as provided. The bill would require, for certain just cause terminations that are curable, that the owner give a notice of violation and an opportunity to cure the violation prior to issuing the notice of termination.
The ordinance will go into effect Thursday and could be a powerful defense mechanism against pertinent no-cause evictions, pending court review.
Before the council decision, Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) and supporters made their position crystal clear. “The coalition demands that all no-cause evictions be invalidated and tenants be allowed to stay in their homes even if their 60 day notices have expired. Not since the days of the Mediterranean fruit fly sprayings has Pasadena had an emergency midnight reading,” said Allison Henry of PTU.
PTU, Socialists of Caltech (SoC), LA Voice, affected tenants and a coalition of tenant advocate groups and clergy in Pasadena joined in the long, ongoing battle.
“PTU and allied organizations were finally successful in convincing City Council of the urgency of an immediate rent freeze and eviction moratorium. We urge council to extend the moratorium to all no-cause evictions. Keep people HOME for the holidays.” said Henry.
On Oct. 28 Pasadena tenants testified and brought their notices to council; some require people out of their homes by Dec. 26. Pasadena Unified School District has closed four schools, and local housing costs are cited as a key reason for enrollment decline, according to PTU.
“The callous behavior of these landlords underscores the need for urgent action by politicians in Pasadena and across the state. Pasadena City Council has a chance to prevent local, long-time tenants from becoming homeless by the holidays. One tenant has a notice to vacate for Dec. 26. Dennis Block, prominent eviction attorney, who appeared at the AAGLA Conference at the Pasadena Convention Center on Oct. 2, 2019 publicly advised property owners to serve 60 day-notices en-masse to tenants in anticipation of AB 1482. This event was advertised on Pasadena City’s Housing Department website, and was still an active link as of Oct. 26, 2019,” PTU stated in a press release.