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Housing Claremont’s Rental Protection Recommendations

Updated: Feb 2


No-Fault-and-Rent-Stabilization-council-letter
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Dear Mayor Reece:


In October 2022, in response to changes in state law, post-pandemic eviction pressures, and input from renters potentially impacted by evictions, the City of Claremont enacted a temporary urgency ordinance placing a moratorium on no-fault evictions. The City also placed temporary urgency limitations on rent stabilization requirements. On April 25 the City Council will consider permanent ordinances for both of these policies. Housing Claremont has researched ordinances in California cities that are similar to Claremont in size and economic makeup to determine whether the city staff’s proposed ordinances are adequate to protect renters in the community (see appendix, table 1). Our guiding principles in making these determinations were tenant protection and incorporating values that best reflect our community. After reviewing these ordinances and carefully considering these criteria, the Board of Housing Claremont make the following recommendations to the City Council improve the proposed permanent no-fault eviction and rent stabilization ordinances. We believe these additions will better serve tenants and reflect our community’s values.


No-Fault Evictions

The state of California has set minimum standards for no-fault evictions through the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482). This law does not go far enough in protecting the interests of renters, and many California cities comparable to Claremont go much further. We recommend the following be included in the permanent ordinance, first introduced by staff at the October 25, 2022 Council meeting:



Relocation assistance

In the staff report, the City of Claremont plans to increase relocation assistance from one month’s rent to three month’s rent. The intention is to cover the first and last month’s rent, and security deposit for tenants relocating to a new apartment. We recommend that Claremont follow Culver City’s model for relocation assistance, which is three month’s rent or three times the Small Area Fair Market Rent – whichever is higher – plus $1,000. The Small Area Fair Market Rent is calculated yearly by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for every zip code in the U.S. The inclusion of the Small Area Fair Market Rent helps to ensure tenants who are paying below market rate for their current apartment can be fairly compensated as they search for a comparable apartment in Claremont. The additional $1,000 is meant to support extra relocation costs, including movers, child care, and days off of work. We further recommend that small landlords – defined as individuals (not corporations or LLCs) who own no more than three rental units in the city – pay 50% of the required relocation assistance.


Additional protections for students and educators

In the previous proposed ordinance, Claremont does not provide any additional eviction protections for groups that would be particularly harmed by no-fault evictions. Both Culver City and Santa Monica do not allow no-fault evictions of school-aged children (K-12) attending public school during the school year. We recommend Claremont add protections for K-12 students – as well as full-time college students and educators – during the school year to minimize disruption to educational programs. We believe this reflects the values of our community and an understanding of how vital education is to it.


Residential Rent Stabilization

In the proposed permanent ordinance, city staff recommended a yearly allowable rent increase of 3% plus the consumer price index (CPI), for a maximum of 6% total. While this is lower than the state’s 10% maximum, other California cities with comparable populations and median incomes to Claremont offer protections of between 3% and 5% allowable annual rent increases. For example, Culver City’s maximum ranges between 2% and 5% depending on CPI. West Hollywood limits rent increases to 75% of CPI or a maximum of 3% annually. We recommend Claremont adopt a 3% plus the consumer price index (CPI), for a maximum of 5% total annual rent increase. We believe this will adequately stabilize rents and reflects the standards in place in similar cities in the region.


An important provision of the October 25 urgency ordinance for heightened rent stabilization exempted “residential tenancies with 20 or fewer units.” After reviewing Claremont’s non-owner-occupied rental properties in Claremont, we recommend that the permanent ordinance exempt residential tenancies with 3 or fewer units. This would ensure that a majority of rental units in the city be rent stabilized, whereas the 20 or fewer units provision would leave less than half of units in the city protected.


The Board of Housing Claremont asks that you ensure these important provisions are part of the City’s housing policy. We feel these additions best represent the interests of tenants, and provide protections that reflect our community and the best practices of similar cities in the region. We also believe the exemptions and reductions for small landlords make this policy fair for property owners. Please reach out to us if you have questions, and we look forward to sharing our perspective on this policy at the upcoming council meeting.


Sincerely,

Zachary Courser Board Member, Housing Claremont






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