The Voters Have Spoken! Our Wrap-Up of Election 2022

The 2022 Beverly Hills municipal election is behind us and the voters have spoken: incumbents Lester Friedman and John Mirisch will return to City Council. They will be joined by Sharona Nazarian — a lesser-known city commissioner who nevertheless came within six votes of besting front-runner incumbent Friedman. Competition for the third available council seat was stiff too: in a large field of candidates Mirisch managed to hold off fellow incumbent Wunderlich by 74 votes — a margin of only one third of one percent — while former planning commissioner Andy Licht put in a respectable showing for fifth place. Let’s look at the results.

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RSO Commission Recommends No Change in the Max Rent Increase

The Rent Stabilization Commission at its July meeting discussed a recommendation to City Council that could amend the rent stabilization ordinance to allow certain pass-through charges and make a potential adjustment to the way the maximum allowable annual rent increase is calculated. Commissioners agreed to recommend an 8% cap on the annual rent increase for all rent-stabilized households in Beverly Hills and deferred action on pass-throughs until August. It was another circuitous and frustrating discussion in the commission’s marathon effort to work though the fundamental concepts behind the rent stabilization ordinance.

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Confusion Persists About the Maximum Allowable Annual Rent Increase

The Beverly Hills Rent Stabilization Commission at the July meeting discussed what should be the maximum allowable annual rent increase and agreed to recommend that it be capped at 8% for all rent-stabilized households — which is the percentage cap in place today for longtime Chapter 5 tenants. Reporting on the commission’s recommendation has generated some confusion over what it might mean in terms of rent hikes for coming years. Let’s talk about the cap and more generally about indexing the rent increase to inflation and put it all into the context of the recent City Council decision to allow a 3.1% increase this year.

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RSO Commission to Discuss the Rent Increase Cap and Allowable Pass-Throughs

The Rent Stabilization Commission at its regular July 6th meeting will revisit an issue that will concern every Beverly Hills rent-stabilized household: potential future amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance relating to the maximum allowable annual rent increase and and the charges that may be passed-through to tenants. Each can make a difference in the amount of rent we pay but affect the price of housing in very different ways. Let’s take a look at what’s on the commission’s agenda and how it may affect tenants.

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County Moratorium: New Protection from Eviction for Low-Income Households

The Los Angeles County moratorium protection against eviction for nonpayment of rent is back in effect. As of July 1, 2022 low-income renting households may delay the payment of rent if they are unable to pay rent due to COVID by filing a declaration with the landlord. The landlord must accept the declaration and no documentation is necessary. This will come as a relief to households financially impacted by COVID yet were left out on a limb after City of Beverly Hills sunset our residential tenant moratorium on May 31st. But the county moratorium offers additional protections too. Let’s take a look.

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Library Moves to Collect Old Fines Days Before Discontinuing Overdue Fines

Beverly Hills library collects a fine of 25¢ for each day that an adult book, CD or DVD is overdue. Those quarters add up and some households are in debt. Now the city is serious about collecting. Last week borrowers in arrears received an emailed notice threatening to refer that debt to a collection agency…with only ten days notice and an additional 40% added for referring it to collections. Libraries around the country have discontinued overdue fines and — wait for it! — so has our library as of July 1st. So why put the strong-arm on households in the 11th hour?

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City Council: No Change to Limited 3.1% Rent Increase…For Now

City Council at last night’s meeting made no change in the current arrangement that allows landlords of rent-stabilized units to demand up to 3.1% more rent starting in July. But the rent hike only affects about one-quarter of renting households — those that did not pay a rent increase during the 2019–20 fiscal year. Most households wouldn’t see a rent increase at all until next July. Some hidden hand in City Hall was behind the RSO office’s effort to expand that rent increase to all renting households, but after an extended discussion to nearly 2 am Council didn’t go along. Here’s the story.

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What is the Means-Tested Housing Assistance Program?

Beverly Hills rent-stabilized households recently received in the mail a notice that City Council will be discussing ‘CPI Index and Means Tested Housing Assistance Program’ at the Tuesday June 21st evening meeting. In a prior post we explained the ‘CPI Index’ discussion item. The housing assistance refers to a proposed program to provide limited financial assistance to tenants and landlords. Most households won’t understand this aspect of the notice. Let Renters Alliance explain….

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City Council to Discuss ‘CPI Index’ — What the Heck Does that Mean?

Beverly Hills rent-stabilized tenants recently received in the mail a notice that City Council will be discussing ‘CPI Index and Means Tested Housing Assistance Program.’ Most tenants will not know what that means. More importantly, most won’t understand how it could affect them…or why they should care. We applaud the rent stabilization office for reaching out about the meeting but lament that City Hall still can’t get stakeholder communication right. Let’s explain what’s on the Tuesday June 21st agenda.

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Beverly Hills Voters Have Spoken…and the Registrar Continues the Count! [Updated 6/24]

The 2022 Beverly Hills municipal election is behind us and the voters have spoken. The preliminary election results show that incumbents Lester Friedman and John Mirisch are returning to City Council. They will be joined by challenger Sharona Nazarian, who could shift the balance of power to favor landlords. The incumbent treasurer, Howard Fisher, coasted to re-election. The results are not yet certified but it looks like victory is locked-in for the top-three finishers according to the latest update from the county registrar of voters.

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My Rundown of the 2022 Beverly Hills Candidates

The choices tenants make at the ballot box will affect the affordability and availability of rental housing for years to come. This election cycle there are three of five City Council seats open. Incumbents stand a good chance of winning reelection. But if the composition of Council changes significantly we may find it tougher to win the continued improvements to the rent stabilization ordinance that we need for sufficient protections in this difficult time. Often I am asked which candidates I support. Here is my personal guide to the candidates.

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