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Long Beach heeds the call for tenant protections, advances forward forms of rent, eviction controls

The City Council voted 6-3 to move ahead crafting a controversial ordinance requiring landlords to pay two months’ rent to tenants who are displaced through no fault of their own, including tenants faced with a 10 percent or higher rent increase.

For years, tenant advocate groups have pushed Long Beach City Council to enact eviction and rent controls to no avail, but MT Evictions has long predicted that it was only a time before these efforts would gain more traction, as there was much chatter and study about the pain Long Beach renters were experiencing with rents on the uptick.

That time was Tuesday night on April 2nd when lawmakers advanced a proposal to require landlords to doll out relocation payment fees when the tenant is displaced because of rent hikes that exceed 10 percent, or because of an eviction owed to no fault of their own.

If entitled to relocation assistance, tenants in transit can expect two months rent on the way out. Exactly what this amount is will depend on the value fixed to the housing authority average fair market rental rates. This can fall anywhere between $2,706 for a studio apartment to $4,500 for a three-bedroom unit or higher, but the funds keep flowing.

Particularly vulnerable tenants like seniors and disabled persons would be the recipients of even more funds under the proposal, though landlords will not have to digger deeper into their pockets - city officials plan to find other, yet-to-be-determined sources to soften the landing for these protected groups.

Long Beach's lurch toward rent control has been an exercise in democracy with both landlord and tenants' right camps well represented Tuesday's raucous City Council's meeting. We won't get into the political wranglings or spirited discussion over what the city's final iteration of rent control will look like - you can get that in this Press-Telegram article. Our role at MT Eviction is not to legislate, but to communicate the rules landlords have to abide by.

We will keep you in the know as wrinkles are ironed out in Long Beach's impending ordinance and in the interim, it may be prudent for landlords to have a heart-to-heart conversation if current rents are sustainable, especially if they haven't raised rents in a long period of time. There may be a scarce window of opportunity to do so without the obligation of relocation payments.

Of course, rent increases require proper documentation and notice, procedural requirements best journeyed with MT Evictions.