Beverly Hills neighbors, now is the time to pay attention! We are looking ahead to an important City Council meeting on February 21st where key tenant protections will be on the agenda. Renters Alliance has been huddling with a few supporters over the past week to print a flyer, get a website up and generally to get the word out. We are on our way.
City Council made important interim changes to the rent stabilization law in January and it took most people by surprise. But those changes have been brewing for more than a year. Discussions at Human Relations Commission about the rent stabilization ordinance proceeded slowly and commission recommendations were not exactly groundbreaking for tenants. For example:
- Instead of recommending the city create a robust registry of rental units like other rent control cities, the commissioners agreed to registry-lite;
- Instead of recommending a city housing inspection program, commissioners settled for a simple checklist of state habitability requirements; and,
- Rather than prepare tenants to understand the law, commissioners doubled-down on the city’s required “Special Notice” to tenants (now called the ‘Rights and Responsibilities Handbook’).
Most notably commissioners recommended not to end no-just-cause termination but only to require a relocation fee. These were all half-measures that would not get the many thousands of Beverly Hills renting households better protection. Many of those half-measures were recommended simply to save the city money!
Time to Get Involved…
Listening in to those commission meetings was frustrating. I reached out to Vice-Mayor Lili Bosse with a plea: let’s keep rent stabilization reform from going off the rails! She teed up some stronger recommendations at the Human Relations Commission in January (with a solid assist from fellow councilmember Kathy Reims) and put those recommendations on the Council agenda the same month.
Time was short. I registered the Renters Alliance domain name, setup a quick email newsletter, contracted with web hosting and built a website. Finally we printed several thousand flyers walked them door-to-door with some volunteers. The landlords’ Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles has been in business for a century and counts thousands of landlords as annual dues-paying members — not to mention a ground army in the legislature and Council chambers across the southland.
We stood-up Renters Alliance with $750.
Humble beginnings! But our tenacity is already paying off: we sense a renewed awakening among city officials that we tenants were ignored for far too long. Word is also getting out to tenants. We saw 40-50 people turn out at the January City Council meeting based on our newsletter alone.
This is not a spring but a marathon. Securing stronger tenant protections is the long game. Who knows where the road will take rent stabilization reform, but we will see it to the end. Eight thousand households in rental housing depend on it.
What can you do? Share the Alliance with anyone you know who rents in Beverly Hills. Write a letter to the editor of the Weekly or the editor of the Courier or the Beverly Press. Want to be a part of the Alliance? Get in touch with the Alliance and let us know how you can help.