Who to Watch in the Beverly Hills City Council Election

Beverly Hills voters will elect two councilmembers at our upcoming municipal election scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, 2020. For residents who rent this is an important election. Because the rent stabilization ordinance has yet to be finalized, the incoming councilmembers will have real influence over key aspects like the allowed annual rent increase and relocation fees and more. But many other aspects of rental housing regulation are affected too. It is crucial we have a city council that is supportive of tenants’ interests. After all we are more than half of all city households! Here is a look at the announced candidates.

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Double Funding for Bet Tzedek Legal Services for Tenants!

Housing rights legal services provider Bet Tzedek starts the new fiscal year with a 100% bump-up in funding to provide more extensive tenant and senior housing legal services to Beverly Hills residents. Great news because eviction actions are on the rise. But the funding almost didn’t happen when City Council balked at spending $220,000. Cedars Sinai stepped in to save the day with a one-time matching grant.

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RSO Study Session #1: Council Gets to Work!

City Council held its first rent stabilization ‘study session’ last Thursday. This is the latest step in a 18-month policy process to amend the rent stabilization ordinance. The session suggested what a final rent stabilization ordinance might look like: relocation fee schedule, exempted properties and more. However key issues — and the process itself — is still up for negotiation!

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City Council: Let’s Get on With the Program

Mayor Bosse tonight focused 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. Other areas of council agreement included forming a tenant-landlord board and a new habitability standard. While the RSO program moves forward the next steps are yet unclear.

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Dialogue #7: My Takeaway

Facilitator Sukhsimranjit Singh wrapped up dialogue #7 like a man with a mission: “Let’s close the gap – I give the power to you but we need to move forward.” Moving forward is a challenge when tenants and landlords cannot to come to agreement, even conceptually, on something like the maximum allowed annual rent increase. But it helps when Mayor Lili Bosse is in the room. Here’s my takeaway from the final facilitated dialogue that hinged on that critical policy issue.

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2017 Dialogue #6: Rental Unit Registration and More

This past Sunday, City of Beverly Hills convened the second roundtable dialogue involving committees of tenants and landlords. “We will try to conclude these issues today without war stories,” Facilitator Sukhsimranjit Singh said. “We are moving towards a middle ground.”

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City Council Hands Tenant-Protections a Major Setback

City Council handed residents who rent a major setback tonight when the Council majority appeared to second-guess its earlier commitment to create a rental unit registry. In semi-retreat our councilmembers signaled that Beverly Hills may not yet be ready, and that has significant implications for both tenants and landlords.

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You Turned Out on Tuesday. What Did Council Do?

I want to thank everyone who responded to my Renters Alliance invitation and attended the City Council meeting this past Tuesday. Some were reluctant to speak up, but many of you offered heartfelt comments and observations. But our recommendations on the proposed ordinance — released Friday night on a holiday weekend — were lost in our allotted one-and-a-half minutes at the microphone. So much for democracy!

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Renters Alliance is Up and Running!

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.

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