City of Beverly Hills has released a raft of draft rent stabilization issue papers produced by the city’s consultant, HR&A Advisors. As we explained in a recent post, The City’s Roadmap for Rent Stabilization, the consultant’s work will shape the City Council’s policy discussion on key issues like the no-just-cause eviction, rent increases and relocation fees. Let’s look at what HR&A laid on us this week.
The materials released include a set of draft issue memos; a city staff report concerning new habitability standards; and a consultant-produced matrix of rent stabilization policies as adopted by other cities in California. The material will inform this fall’s discussion with data.
Also local landlord Hank Dayani had filed suit to block the city’s registration of rental units on the ground that no analysis has been undertaken. Now it has been. Claim mooted!
There are seven consultant memos in the package:
- HR&A Advisors memo on the maximum annual rent increase
- HR&A Advisors memo on relocation fees
- HR&A Advisors memo on no-just-cause eviction (the city allows it)
- HR&A Advisors memo on the state’s Ellis Act and how it may apply in Beverly Hills
- HR&A Advisors memo on the city’s ‘rent adjustment’ process
- HR&A Advisors memo on rent-banking
- HR&A Advisors memo on exemptions from rent stabilization
Note: Renters Alliance had to dice-and-slice an unwieldy memo package posted by the city (hundreds of pages!) into separate memos. Those are provided here. We have been unable to secure an improved version of this matrix of comparison cities so we post the matrix here as provided by the city.
In addition to the HR&A Advisors memorandums and matrix, the consultant has provided an overview of rental unit registry data and put it into regional context.
Renters Alliance summarized that data brief and added some thoughts of our own. Finally, the city posted its own memorandum on habitability standards (a topic that was discussed in the last summer dialogues):
It is a lot to take in! But these documents will feed the discussion and structure the upcoming RSO process, which includes a second round of facilitated dialogues and two follow-up City Council study sessions. We talk about the coming process in the roadmap post. Here are the scheduled dialogues.
What’s NOT on the Agenda
There is much left out that would better-protect tenants. What about local protections against landlord harassment? Or a specific ordinance provision that establishes penalties for unlawful unit entry or landlord retaliation? There should be an explicit penalty when relocation fees are withheld.
Tenants with pets need better protection too against capricious 3-day notices to vacate when the lease prohibits a pet. There is and much, much more we need to see in a well-thought-out rent stabilization ordinance!
Also not on the city’s agenda, evidently, is a rent committee or board where tenant and landlord representatives could adjudicate disputes and perhaps make policy recommendations. (We had recommended one and there is precedent: Beverly Hills once had a rent board and later a commission.)
First You’re Hearing About HR&A Advisors?
Any resident who rents but did not know that a consultant was working on an analysis of rent stabilization issues can be forgiven: for many months the city has been silent about the policy process. Aside from a brief update last March and a sparsely-attended ‘community education’ event in May, for most of us the rent stabilization policy process simply seemed on hiatus.
However readers of our Renters Alliance email newsletter (subscribe) will have known that City Council did engage the consultant last November, and that the contract effectively defined the scope of this fall’s rent stabilization policy discussion. Renters Alliance provided an update in February as well as posted our view on the process ahead in July. Most recently we opined on the next round of facilitated dialogues coming this month. We try to keep you informed. Now it’s your turn to really pay attention!