The city has announced the return of rent stabilization facilitated dialogues beginning August 15th and wrapping up in September. These topic-focused dialogues will offer the community (tenants and landlords) and opportunity to review and comment on the findings of the city’s rent stabilization consultant. (View the materials.) We will see a return engagement by Sukhsimranjit Singh, who facilitated the earlier round last summer, wherein considerable time and energy was expended. City Council then kicked it over to a consultant for further study. Now tenants and landlords will again have their say.
Months have passed without a single word from Beverly Hills officials about rent stabilization reform. No press release, newspaper ad, or website update keeps us informed about the process even though the current policy is only temporary and change will come. Officials let weeks go by without a reply when asked. Even a public records request can be met with an incomplete response. And don’t get me started about the programs that must be managed better in order to properly serve tenants.
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.
Ever since Beverly Hills City Council last January created a rental unit registry to underpin our stabilization program, staffers have been watching the calendar as the days get crossed-off: come January 22nd we will mark one year since the urgency ordinance was adopted, and state law says that any effort to create a rental unit registry (which certifies permissible rents) must resolve all landlord and tenant appeals within a one-year window. Time is running out. Can you step up on behalf of the registry and program?
Facilitator Sukhsimranjit Singh approached dialogue #7 with an agenda that focused on several items from the previous table dialogue: the annual rent increase; relocation fees; no-just-cause tenancy terminations; and exemptions from rent stabilization for up to 4-unit structures. (For background read dialogue #5 recap and dialogue #6 recap.) In this final facilitated dialogue, though, landlords and tenants found little more to agree on. This is my recap.
At the second roundtable dialogue #6 (August 13th), tenants and landlords seemed to find some areas of common agreement, including the formation of a tenant-landlord committee and that every apartment renting and leasing business should be registered and paying business tax. (Currently not all do.) But there were key differences in how we viewed these and many issues. Here is my takeaway from that meeting. Please read the full recap for all of the details.
This past Sunday, City of Beverly Hills convened the second roundtable dialogue involving committees of tenants and landlords. “We are moving towards a middle ground,” Facilitator Sukhsimranjit Singh said. “We will try to conclude these issues today without war stories.” Like July’s dialogue #5, this dialogue #6 was organized to allow representatives from each side an opportunity to search for common interests in a focused, facilitated discussion. What follows is my summary. (Don’t need to read the details? Read my takeaway from this the session.)
City of Beverly Hills last spring implemented an interim rent stabilization policy that capped at 3% annual allowable rent increases, mandated for all tenants relocation fees, and created a rental unit registry. Then Council tossed it to the community to hug-it-out over the key policy details. This latest in the series of sessions focused on these three key issues: tenant-landlord communication; habitability standards for individual units; and the allowed annual rent increase. This is my recap of Dialogue #5.
This third facilitated dialogue was yet another break from expectations: unlike the shared tables of dialogue #2, this session broke us out into two separate groups, tenants and landlords separately, and put us each in a room to talk about issue areas as identified in dialogue #1. Now, I don’t know what happened on the landlord side, but tenants found renewed purpose in working together. And we presented a unified front when it came to defending the current ordinance. Here’s my recap.
Professor Sukhsimranjit Singh facilitated the second scheduled tenant-landlord dialogues this past Wednesday. It was a departure from Monday’s first session in that this session drilled down to the one concern important to every tenant and landlord: How much can the rent increase each year? The ‘consensus’ position that emerged from this session will not make you happy! Read on for my recap.
Facilitator Sukhsimranjit Singh opened the city’s first tenant-landlord facilitated dialogue on Monday with three requests: be respectful, speak up, and listen. That acknowledged the divisions among tenants and landlords that emerged since the city adopted the first urgency ordinance in January. But it was also an admonition to the approximately 80 attendees: however passionate anyone may feel, the overarching goal across four scheduled facilitated dialogues was enhanced communication. Here is my recap.