Inglewood enacts ‘emergency’ rent control measure, bars landlords from evicting tenants

J

Jenna Chandler

Guest
The city of Inglewood enacted a 45-day moratorium on rent hikes above 5 percent.

The measure also caps rent increases to 5 percent

Many landlords across Inglewood will be temporarily barred from raising rents more than 5 percent—and from evicting tenants—under an emergency rent control measure adopted unanimously today by the City Council.

The moratorium will be in place for 45 days, effective immediately, and may be extended for up to one year. It applies to apartment buildings, duplexes, and other rental units built prior to February 1, 1995. But pursuant to California’s law regulating rent control, it does not affect single-family homes and condos.

Under Inglewood’s moratorium, property owners will not be allowed to raise rents more than 5 percent above the amount tenants pay today, and they will not be allowed to evict tenants, unless “the underlying reason is for criminality or drug use.”

“The moratorium is a pause. We’re basically saying, ‘Hold everything,’” said Councilmember Eloy Morales.

City staffers will now work to draft permanent measures to curb evictions and displacement as Inglewood—where a majority of residents are renters—draws the attention of developers, major sport franchises, and home buyers looking to live close to the Westside.

Councilmembers had, until today, resisted pressure from residents to enact rent control as rental prices climbed. Since 2016, when construction on the NFL stadium at Hollywood Park began, they’ve soared 10.8 percent, compared to 7 percent countywide.

“People are literally facing homelessness,” said resident Tiffany Wallace. “Housing is a human right, and everyone should have it.”

The council decided to take action, Morales said, after hearing “the exact stories” of renters facing “exorbitant” rent increases.

Mayor James Butts said he proposed the moratorium after speaking with the managing partner of a limited liability corporation that had recently purchased two apartment buildings in Inglewood and who had notified tenants that he planned to rehab the properties and hike the rent—by as much as 138 percent.

“He had every right to capitalize and pay his mortgage,” the mayor said. “But here’s the rub: There’s a social cost... We will not allow apartment buildings to be emptied out in mass. We will not allow that to happen.”

But Butts insisted that the development boom he has ushered into town—namely the $4.9 billion NFL stadium, which will be surrounded by 2,500 new homes and a giant shopping district—was not to blame for escalating housing costs.

He noted that it’s still far cheaper to rent in Inglewood than many other places in Los Angeles and California, and he emphasized that prices were ticking up before construction started on the NFL stadium.

Butts proposed the emergency ordinance, but the version the council ended up adopting is even stronger for tenants. The mayor’s original proposal did not include the ban on evictions, but residents and members of the group Uplift Inglewood Coalition argued for it, saying the community was in “crisis mode.”

“After years of advocacy, we are proud to have gotten the city to take this important step to send the message to corporate landlords that rent gouging is not okay in the City of Inglewood,” Uplift Inglewood Coalition member D’Artagnan Scorza said in a statement after the vote.

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