Rent Control Moves Back to City Staff for Fee Study

Old key with tag on black stone surface. Concept of real estate rent.

Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells shared heartfelt words on rent control at the City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, when she and other council members discussed a report from the Finance Advisory Committee on the current rent freeze.

Sahli-Wells spoke to an audience of hundreds about her discomfort with the growing homeless population and the arrival of trillion dollar Silicon Valley tech companies.

“We developed this ordinance in direct response to a desperate need,” Sahli-Wells said. “I want to make sure that we’re grounded in how this came about to begin with.”

The FAC submitted a budget amendment for nearly $500,000, identical to the draft they produced at their committee meeting last month. As Culver City Crossroads reported then, the highest costs were allocated to Communications and the Rental Registration Online System for tenants.

It’s been mere weeks since the council voted to declare a fiscal emergency, and there was widespread concern over the implementation’s high cost. Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson voiced his approval of state law AB 1482 over the city’s current ordinance, citing the pressure it would put on the city’s budget.

“I think it’s a better, more healthy law than our current freeze,” he said about the state bill. “So I think it would be good for our city.”

Council Member Daniel Lee challenged the idea that the cost of implementation would cause significant harm.

“Even if we do vote to make this expenditure, it’s less than one percent of the reason that we have a fiscal emergency,” Lee said. “There’s no real comparison when it comes to doing our fiscal duty as city council members.”

Culver City was the last city in West Los Angeles to adopt a rent control policy. Implementing rent control in other Southern California towns has exceeded $1 million.

As a result of Monday night’s vote, City Manager John Nachbar will begin drafting a long-term fee study on recovering the landlord registration fee.

Elizabeth Moss

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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