LB Rent Control Initiative Supporters Submit Measure Text, Request City Att'y Ballot Title/Summary, Prerequisite To Petition Signature Gathering is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(Jan. 12, 2018) -- has learned that on January 12, 2018, supporters of a petition-initiative Long Beach rent control ballot measure (Josh Butler, Karen Reside and Martha Cota) submitting the text of a proposed measure to the City Clerk and requested that the City Attorney prepare a ballot title and summary.

Assuming the text submitted provides a sufficient basis to do so, the City Attorney has 15 days to prepare a ballot title and summary.

The proponents then must comply with a number of Elections Code requirements prior to circulating the petition and gather a sufficient number of registered voter signatures to place it on the November 6, 2018 ballot.

The proponents have to collect and submit roughly roughly 27,000 signatures of Long Beach registered voters (10% of city's registered voter total) within 180 days. If they do so, their ballot measure text would be placed on the November 6, 2018 LB city ballot, and if approved by a majority of Long Beach voters, would become the law in the City of Long Beach.

[Scroll down for further.]

The text submitted by the proponents isn't immediately available; when obtains a copy, we'll publish it.

In a "Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition" filed with the City Clerk in November, the proponents stated their intention to circulate a petition for the purpose of establishing a Long Beach ordinance "that enacts rent control, a Rent Board, and just cause eviction requirements."



Caveat: We don't know at this point to what extent the proponents' November 2017 text below -- which the City Attorney deemed insufficient for a ballot title/summary as it wasn't in formal ordinance form -- reflects the ordinance text submitted by the proponents for a City Attorney ballot title/summary on Jan. 12, 2018

In materials submitted in November 2017, the proponent said their proposed LB rent control ordinance:

  • "...would set a maximum allowable rent charge on rent controlled residential units" of "100% of the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index"

  • "...would also prohibit landlords from terminating tenancies for reasons that are not specifically listed in the proposed ordinance"

  • "would exempt "certain temporary rentals, small second units, and rental of certain rooms..."

  • would "establish a Long Beach Rent Board composed of five members appointed by the City Council" and "No more than two Board members would be permitted to own or manage rental property or be realtors."

  • would let landlords -- and tenants -- "petition the Rent Board for an upward or downward adjustment of the maximum allowable rent..."

  • In making a downward rent adjustment, the Rent Board "could consider decreases in living space, substantial deterioration of the rental unit, or failure of the housing to comply with housing, health and safety codes." The Rent Board could allow upward rent adjustments only "if the landlord demonstrates that such adjustments are necessary to provide the landlord with a fair return on investment" on terms described in the ordinance [not publicly visible at this point.]

  • The Rent Board's decision may be challenged in court and "a landlord [doesn't mention tenant] could be liable in a civil action for damages, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs as determined by the court, and a civil penalty."

  • A landlord "who violates the ordinance would be guilty of a misdemeanor" and "liable for attorney attorney fees in any litigation including evictions."

  • A landlord "could only terminate a tenancy for one of the following reasons:

    • (1) "if the tenant fails to pay rent; breaches the lease; or fails to give the landlord access to the premises in certain situations;
    • (2) "if the landlord seeks to use the unit as a primary residence by the landlord, or the landlord's spouse, children, parents or grandparents; or the landlord seeks to withdraw all units of an entire property from the rental market."

  • A landlord could "upgrade the property with provisions for appropriate pass through of costs to the tenant"

  • Relocation payments could be required "under certain circumstances in an amount to be determined by the City Council through a Relocation Ordinance to be adopted by the Council."

The Notice of Intention recites that ordinance would "exempt from rent control units exempt under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act."


In November, "Housing Long Beach's Facebook postings invited the conclusion that it anticipates repeal of the 1995 statewide Costa-Hawkins Act, a state law that currently blunts the effectiveness of local rent control measures. A bill (AB 1506) in the state legislature to repeal Costa-Hawkins stalled in 2017 and stalled again in a Jan. 11, 2018 meeting of the Assembly's Housing and Development Committee (failing passage by a single vote: 3 votes yes, 2 votes no, 2 members not voting.) That means AB 1506's author will either have to convince a Committee member to change his/her vote or the author will have to agree to make some amendment(s) to the bill in hopes of gaining that vote to advance through the Committee.

However a statewide petition-initiated ballot measure is separately advancing to repeal Costa-Hawkins, and if its proponents collect sufficient statewide signatures, CA voters will decide on the November 2018 statewide ballot whether to repeal Costa-Hawkins. Doing so would effectively let cities (by their City Councils or by local voter initiated measures) decide whether to have rent control, and if so in what forms, in their city..

If Costa-Hawkins is repealed, and if the LB rent control initiative petition gathers sufficient signatures, Long Beach voters (in a city with a population of roughly 60% renters) would decide on rent control regardless of what Long Beach's Mayor supports or opposes or what a City Council majority does or doesn't do.




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