City Council held the first scheduled rent stabilization study session last Thursday. This latest step in the 18-month process to reform the ordinance is a sign that the endgame is near. In this first study session, our councilmembers suggested what a final rent stabilization ordinance might look like. However they continue to discuss both the key issues and the process itself. Here’s our recap as we look ahead to the second study session on October 18th.
Councilmember Lili Bosse closes out her year as Mayor next week when City Council chooses the next Mayor and Vice Mayor on March 20th at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As we look ahead to our next Council leaders, Gold and Mirsch, I want to thank Mayor Bosse for her support on behalf of tenants.
After winding its way though the policy machinery for the past year, Beverly Hills City Council has unanimously supported a policy to regulate smoking in multifamily properties (including condominium buildings). Councilmembers spoke up strongly on Tuesday in favor of banning smoking in all apartments, for both new and existing tenancies, and will phase-in the prohibition over an accelerated one-year period. That means all smoking ceases in multifamily properties by January 1, 2019. Read the press release.
Mayor Bosse tonight was able tonight to focus councilmembers on several key issues that are necessary to move the rent stabilization program forward: proceeding with a rental registry, funding the program, and hiring a deputy director. There were other areas of council agreement, too, like forming a tenant-landlord committee or board and enact new habitability standards. While the program moved forward, though, the next steps are unclear. Should the key policy questions go to a Council workshop? Get tossed back to the community for more dialogues? Let’s take a look at were councilmembers at the September 5, 2017 meeting were able to find consensus.
City Council handed residents who rent a major setback tonight when the majority agreed to step away from an earlier, unanimous commitment to create a rental unit registry. Indeed our councilmembers appeared to second-guess their decision to create a registry at all. In retreating, Council signals that Beverly Hills may not yet be ready to regulate rental housing. And that has significant implications for both tenants and landlords as we are a half-year into a rent-stabilization policy process that shows no sign of coming soon to a conclusion.
I know my neighbors are asking, What’s the next step in the rent stabilization policy process? Doesn’t everyone think this way? Well, this coming Thursday City Council will continue discussing the implementation of the new rent stabilization policy. Council will focus on two issues: the creation of a rental unit database & registry to track tenancies across rent-stabilized properties; and identifying a format for facilitated roundtable(s) that would bring residents and landlords together later this year around an equitable rent stabilization policy. Get ready for an important meeting!
The final Beverly Hills City Council election results were posted by Los Angeles County today. After a prolonged bit of suspense because the County, for the first time in my memory, administered our election, now the tallies are in. What a nail-biter!
I want to thank everyone who responded to my Renters Alliance email and showed up to City Council this past Tuesday. Some were reluctant to speak up, but many of you did with heartfelt comments and observations. Unfortunately, our recommendations on the proposed ordinance, which was released Friday evening on a holiday weekend, were lost in our only one-and-a-half minutes at the microphone. So much for democracy: we saw a fully-baked set of half-loaf policies essentially blessed by City Council. (The other half of the loaf was gobbled by the landlords.)