Long Beach rent control advocates have begun collecting signatures to place an ordinance on the November ballot to stifle rent increases in the city.
“This is a chance for Long Beach renters to keep their communities and stay in their homes,” Karen Reside, vice president of the Long Beach Grey Panthers, a group that provides education and advocacy for seniors, said in a press release. “Unaffordable rents are pushing generations of local community members out of our neighborhoods. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are fair and common-sense ways to control rents and prevent unfair evictions.”
The Rent Control NOW Coalition kicked off its efforts with a signature-collecting event at MacArthur Park on February 11. The coalition must gather approximately 27,000 signatures by late June to get the proposed ordinance on the November ballot for the chance to bring rent control to Long Beach.
Housing Long Beach Executive Director Josh Butler, who resubmitted the initiative to the city for approval on January 12, said the coalition does not have plans for a paid signature collection effort. He described the Rent Control NOW Coalition as a grass-roots, community-led effort.
According to the initiative summary prepared by the Long Beach City Attorney’s office, if passed, the rent control initiative would enact the following policies:
• Establish residential rent control and restrictions regarding how tenancies may be terminated.
• Establish“just cause for eviction”requirements to be enforced and administered by a new five-member Rental Housing Board.
• Establish and set maximum allowable rent on applicable residential units.
• Set maximum allowable annual rental increases for residential units at 100% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index or 5%, whichever is less, with no more than one increase per 12-month period.
• Units exempt from rent control under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act are not exempt from new tenancy termination laws, including relocation payments to tenants under certain circumstances.
• Impose an annual rental housing fee on all landlords, which is to be set and may be adjusted by the Rental Housing Board.
Members and endorsements of the coalition include Latinos in Action, Educated Men With Meaningful Messages (EM3), Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, Long Beach Progressive Alliance, the Environmental 99% Coalition, Long Beach Area Peace Network, Long Beach Old Lesbians, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, The Foundation for Economic Democracy, Eviction Defense Network, and California State University, Long Beach groups such as La Raza, Lobby Corps, Young Democratic Socialists of America, Black Student Union, and Students for Quality Education.