HomeCity NewsBurbank City Council to Consider Rent Cap

Burbank City Council to Consider Rent Cap

The Burbank City Council could direct city staff to draft a much-discussed and controversial rent stabilization measure next week, as the body is scheduled Tuesday to discuss a potential cap on rent increases and other topics related to landlord-tenant relations.

Following a year of tense clashes between tenants and landlords over mass evictions in 2023, the Council approved an ordinance in September, placing additional requirements on owners who intend to evict tenants to make substantial remodels to their units.

And while property owners widely opposed the measure, tenants’ groups said the ordinance wasn’t enough to curb the impact such no-fault evictions have on Burbank tenants.

Tuesday, the Council will continue the conversation, discussing a rent cap, tenant protection measures, legal and professional resources for landlords and tenants, and enforcement methods to prevent unnecessary evictions that are intended only to increase the rent of housing units.

“It is time for Council to move swiftly with a strong tenant protection ordinance. I hope that on Tuesday our union can show other Burbank tenants that if we organize, we can achieve real wins,” Burbank Tenants Union member, Alissandra Valdez, told the Leader.

Valdez called existing rent control measures “weak” and said that a city with a renter majority deserves better protections. She said BTU’s outreach efforts have exposed a harsh reality for Burbank Tenants.

“For over a year, Burbank Tenants Union members have spoken with countless tenants who have experienced unaffordable rent increases, neglected buildings, and have faced eviction and retaliation for speaking up,” Valdez said.

On the other hand, landlords say rising maintenance and labor costs necessitate higher yearly rent increases.

The Burbank Association of Realtors President Harry Timuryan told the Leader that any lower cap would overburden property owners, who he says are already experiencing difficulties on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a difficult and weird six years. Inflation has gone up tremendously, materials costs have gone up and the pandemic was disastrous for housing providers. At that time, [property owners] were left out of conversation,” Timuryan said.

Timuryan said that, in addition to rising costs, the biggest fear of property owners is the uncertainty of local policy changes.

“So, if you ask a housing provider if they have breathing room with the current rent control, the answer is absolutely not, especially not on the tail of those challenges,” he said.

State rent control law currently allows about an 8% maximum rent increase per year in the city, and Burbank has yet to implement additional rent stabilization measures, despite discussions on the topic dating back to 2019.

Other cities in Los Angeles County such as Bell Gardens, Beverly Hills, Culver City and Pasadena, as well as the county itself, have adopted ordinances implementing stricter rent caps than state law imposes, but Glendale, Long Beach and Claremont continue to impose the state’s restrictions.

After hearing city staff’s report on the “landlord-tenant strategies” taken by comparable cities in the region, the Burbank City Council could direct staff to draft an ordinance codifying new local measures, or they could choose to continue to adhere to the state’s mandates.

First published in the April 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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