Pasadena City Council Strengthens Tenant Protections

erol-ahmed-48243-copy-300x200In August, 2017, the Pasadena City Council approved the final draft of the revised Tenant Protection Ordinance. The new changes clarify when displaced tenants are eligible for moving and relocation financial assistance.

When and whether landlords need to pay displaced tenants for their troubles has become a significant issue throughout California as evictions continue to rise. If you have been evicted from your unit without having done anything wrong and now you are having trouble finding a new place to live, look into your rights. In certain circumstances, your landlord may owe you money for the cost of moving and relocating. Contact an experienced tenants’ rights attorney from Brod Law Firm to learn more.

Pasadena’s Updated Tenant Protection Ordinance

Under Pasadena’s new ordinance, all tenants in good standing who live in households at or below 140% of the median income, by household size, must be paid a relocation allowance worth two months of fair market rents as dictated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a similar unit.

In addition to the relocation allowance, Pasadena landlords must pay a moving expense allowance of $1,000 for three-adult households or $3,000 for households that include seniors, dependents, or people with disabilities.

Under the new ordinance, the relocation and moving expenses allowances will automatically increase each year in accordance with HUD fair market rents and the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles-Long Beach metro area, respectively.

When are Tenants Eligible for Financial Assistance?

Under the ordinance, tenants are eligible for relocation assistance when a landlord or property owner:

  • Recovers possession of the unit for demolition
  • Is removing the unit permanently from the rental housing market
  • Wants to use the unit for themselves or a family member
  • Needs to comply with a government agency’s order to vacate the rental unit do to a housing, health, building or safety violation

Students, faculty members, and staff members of any educational institution, living in housing provided by that institution, are eligible for relocation allowance and moving expenses if they can prove their tenancy was terminated more than 365 days after their enrollment or employment ended.

Additional Options for Tenants

The new ordinance also states that if landlords or property owners fail to provide relocation and moving expense allowances when required by law, tenants will have the right to bring civil claims against them. Not only would the landlords be required to pay the financial assistance originally owed, they can also be fined and forced to pay the tenants’ attorney’s fees and court costs. There is even the potential for the court to award punitive damages.

The Reason for the Change

A distinct incident led to the Pasadena City Council’s statutory changes. In 2014, three dormitory buildings were sold by Fuller Theological Seminary to Carmel Partners, Inc. After the sale, some of the tenants, which included by students and staff members, were locked out of their homes. There was no assistance for them despite being forced to relocate.

Were You Denied Moving or Relocation Assistance?

If you believe you are entitled to moving expenses or relocation assistance under your local tenant ordinance yet your landlord is denying you such help, contact an experienced San Francisco tenants’ rights attorney of Brod Law Firm at (800) 427-7020. It can often be difficult to read and interpret the law to figure out whether you are owed money or not. A lawyer can review your circumstances, explain your rights, and outline your legal options.

(image courtesy of Erol Ahmed)