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Officials approve ‘gap measure’ bill on rent control

INGLEWOOD – Officials approved emergency rent control legislation June 18 to protect city residents temporarily until the city’s permanent rent stabilization measure can be implemented later this year.

Officials said they needed to adopt the temporary ordinance to continue capping rent increases at 5% a year because the previous emergency ordinance expired June 17. 

The permanent measure, which council officials approved June 11, will not go into affect until mid-July at the earliest, officials said.

Intended to protect residents from being priced out of development-rich Inglewood, the permanent measure limits rent increases to not more than 5% a year for most renters living in buildings that have four or more apartments and were built before Feb. 1, 1995.

It also sets a “just cause” policy that protects renters from receiving 60-day eviction notices, except for criminality, drug use or failure to pay rent. It also would, in some cases, mandate that property owners offer relocation allowances to renters who cannot afford the higher rent. 

A soon-to-be-formed housing commission will monitor the implementation of the ordinance, officials said.

Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said while the city’s action is “not the ideal solution,” it is a “great compromise between the people that have to provide housing and have to pay for it and the people that rent here.”

“It’s always bad when the government tells people what they can do with private property,” he said. “But because we’re at the intersection of such prosperity, it’s coming so fast that we need something to make sure that people have time to grow with the city.”

Under the permanent legislation, property owners will be authorized to raise rent 8% a year if they can prove their current rent is below 80% of Inglewood’s current market rental rate – about $1,770 a month.  Once the monthly rent reaches 81% of market value, the property owners will be reverted back to the 5% cap. 

Property owners also may raise rent 8% annually – for two years – if they can prove that they need $10,000 or more in building repairs or renovations. 

The issue of rent control surfaced in recent years when it was announced that the L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers and L.A. Clippers soon would play their home games in Inglewood, sparking an economic boom in the area and, potentially, spiking property values and rental costs.

Councilman Alex Padilla, who represents District 2, said officials are committed to adopting legislation the serves the needs of all city stakeholders.

“Be patient with us, but know that we are looking out for the best interest of everyone in the city of Inglewood,” Padilla said. “Not just the renters, not just the landlords, but everyone.”

John W. Davis