Here's Text of LB Petition-Initiative Proposed Rent Control/Just Cause Eviction/Rental Housing Board Law

"Just cause" eviction and Rental Housing Board provisions would apply regardless of whether 1995 rent-control-limiting Costa-Hawkins law is repealed is reader and advertiser supported.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. 19, 2018, 6:05 p.m.) -- publishes below the full text of the proposed petition-initiated LB rent control/just-cause eviction/rent board ordinance. To view the "Long Beach Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance," click here.

We presume (unless told otherwise) that the ordinance's "just cause" eviction provisions and establishment of a Rental Housing Board would apply regardless of whether the 1995 Costa-Hawkins law (limiting local rent control laws) is repealed by Sacramento or a separate statewide petition-initiative. However as a practical matter the proposed ordinance's citywide rent controlling provisions effectively depend on repeal of Costa-Hawkins (because under Costa-Hawkins, cities can't enact strict rent control with vacancy controls (that deny/limit an owner's ability to increase rent to new tenants.)

[Scroll down for further.]

The ordinance would create a non-elected Rental Housing Board (comprised of three tenants and no more than one property manager or developer of market rate housing) with considerable regulatory and enforcement powers. These include the power to decide an annual citywide general rent increase (limited to the region's CPI, capped at 5%), limit individual rent increases to what it deems a "fair return" (details in ordinance), can give tenants rent reductions (details in ordinance) and can impose fines and punitive actions. The ordinance doesn't exempt rental of single family homes. (The current Costa-Hawkins law prevents cities from enacting rent control on single family homes.)

Among the ordinance's salient provisions (paraphrase/summary here, refer to ordinance text for details):

  • Specifies that the ordinance's intent is to allow individual rent increases only when the landlord "demonstrates" it's necessary to provide a "fair return" and the ordinance specifies what it does or doesn't consider a "fair return."

  • Lets tenants file a petition to decrease rent if they say the landlord hasn't maintained the unit in habitable condition, and a reduction in maintenance beyond ordinary wear and tear is deemed an increase in rent.

  • Gives a Rental Housing Board (chosen by the Mayor and approved by the City Council) the power to enforce the ordinance's terms, set rents, appoint hearing officers, subpoena witnesses and documents and hear appeals of decisions by hearing officers.

  • Requires all landlords would be required to pay an annual Rental Housing Fee with pass-through to tenants decided by the Rental Housing Board limited to 50%.

  • Exempts rental units owned, operated or managed by a non-profit entity under a tax-credit program, or operated by a government entity, or in which government subsidized tenants reside. It also exempts "accessory dwelling units" (granny flats) if the owner is the primary resident of the first, larger single family home.

  • Exempts units from its rent control provisions if they're exempted from rent control under the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act [which various rent control advocates statewide are working to repeal by Sacramento legislation or a statewide petition initiative]. However, even if Costa-Hawkins is repealed, the ordinance's "just cause eviction" provisions and creation of a Rental Housing Board to enforce them would still apply.

  • Under the ordinance's "just cause eviction" provisions, lets landlords recover possession of a rental unit if one of the following occurs (subject to details in the ordinance): tenant fails to pay rent, breaches a lease, commits or permits a nuisance; uses the unit for an illegal purpose; refuses to execute a new lease; fails to permit access; is a subtenant in sole possession not approved by the landlord; owner move-in (for self or specified family members); necessary and substantial repairs requiring temporary vacancy; withdrawal of unit permanently from the housing market or a government order.

  • Requires an owner to pay a "qualified tenant" (defined in ordinance) $8,441 or other tenants $3,941 [initial sums the Rental Housing Board can subsequently increase] if an owner seeks to move-in, make necessary and substantial repairs requiring temporary vacancy; withdraw the unit permanently from the housing market unless the building contains four or fewer rental units, and he landlord doesn't own four or more units or rental housing and a single family home in Long Beach, and meets other requirements.

  • Empowers the Rental Housing Board to set amounts payable to tenants for Relocation Assistance (not less than amounts required under state law)...and tenants whose tenancies are terminated under the ordinance gain a "right of return and right of first refusal" to return to the rental unit if it's put back on the market...and the tenant entitled to rent at the level paid when the tenancy was terminated.


As previously reported by, proponents of the petition-initiative ordinance -- Josh Butler, Karen Reside and Martha Cota -- submitted the text to the City Clerk on Jan. 12, triggering a 15 day period for the City Attorney to prepare a ballot title and summary.

The City Attorney has 15 days from its submittal 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 must collect and submit roughly 27,000 signatures of Long Beach registered voters (10% of city's registered voter total) within 180 days to qualify for ballot placement. If they do so, their ballot measure text would appear 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.

The rent-control provisions of the ordinance effectively require repeal of the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, a state law that limits the ability of cities to enact rent control (by Council action or petition initiative.) In 2017, a bill (AB 1506) to repeal Costa-Hawkins stalled in the state legislature amid fierce opposition, and the bill stalled again on Jan. 11, 2018 in the Assembly's Housing and Development Committee (failed passage by a single vote: 3 votes yes, 2 votes no, 2 members not voting.) That outcome 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 poised to advance that, if its proponents collect sufficient signatures, could put a Costa-Hawkins repeal measure on the November 2018 ballot.

If either method succeeds in repealing Costa-Hawkins, CA cities statewide -- by voted actions of their City Councils OR by petition-initiated votes by their voters -- would be able to decide whether to have rent control, and if so in what forms. ..



On Friday Jan. 12, 2018, potential LB Mayoral candidate Robert Fox announced he decided not to file ballot-qualifying paperwork after meeting with Mayor Robert Garcia who then issued a statement reciting his opposition to rent control in Long Beach. However a voter-signature petition-initiated rent control measure (such as the one proposed in Long Beach) makes the views of the Mayor and Council legally irrelevant; with sufficient petition signatures, LB voters will decide on rent control in Long Beach, not the Mayor or Councilmembers.


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