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Inglewood makes rent control permanent, sets cap at 5 percent

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Residents have pushed for renter protections amid a development boom

Sixty-four percent of Inglewood households rent, rather than own.
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Inglewood is joining the growing list of Los Angeles communities adopting rent control—and residents say the safeguards for tenants couldn’t come fast enough in an increasingly prosperous city where 64 percent of households rent rather than own.

The Inglewood City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved permanent rent control measures that will block property owners from increasing rents more than 5 percent annually, though there are exceptions, and the cap in some cases will be 8 percent.

Renters will also be eligible for relocation allowances when they’ve lived at a property for at least two years and were evicted for “just cause.”

The decision comes three months after the council agreed on a temporary rent cap and one year before the planned opening of the NFL Stadium in the summer of 2020. Many residents blame the $2.6 billion venue for rising housing and rental prices in the historically black and Latino community.

The council was initially set to vote on a cap of 8 percent, but dozens of tenants, many of them members of Uplift Inglewood, turned out to press for a lower thresholdand it worked.

Many made the argument that most people don’t get annual raises from their employers as high as 8 percent. They said longtime and lower-income residents deserve to be able to afford to stick around and enjoy Inglewood’s “resurrection.”

“We can’t resurrect as a city if everyone is relocated,” said Victor-Cyrus Franklin, a pastor at Inglewood First United Methodist Church.

Victoria Preciado, a homeowner and teacher at Animo Charter High School, told the council that she regularly hears stories like this from students: “‘Miss, my rent has gone up $500, and we have to pay that next month. I don’t know whether to go to UC Merced or stay and help my dad pay rent.’”

She urged the City Council to start focusing on “the people of Inglewood—not the corporate interests—not the Rams.”

Uplift Inglewood, which has led the charge for rent control in the city, called the vote a “victory not only for Inglewood but for housing justice advocates everywhere.”

The NFL stadium—the future home of the Rams and Chargers—under construction in Inglewood.

The organization has worked for well over a year to get rent control in Inglewood, one of the fastest changing pockets of LA. It’s not just the future Rams and Chargers stadium. The city will also soon be home to three Metro train stations, thousands of market-rate apartments, and, potentially, a Clippers arena. Inglewood also abuts Culver City and the Westside, which have grown even more well-heeled as the tech industry flourishes.

“Inglewood is experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity, and there’s much more to come,” said Mayor James Butts. “Still, there are longterm residents who are vulnerable and at risk of sudden displacement without some form of economic protection.”

Under the state law that regulates local rent control regulations, Inglewood’s new rules will apply only to rental properties constructed prior to February 1995 and will not apply to single-family homes and condos.

Landlords who have historically kept rents low—defined as 80 percent of the city’s median rent—will be allowed to hike rents up to 8 percent each year until they reach market rate. They can also increase rents by 8 percent when making more than $10,000 in improvements. Butts says the city will inspect properties to verify the improvements.

Relocation fees will be three times Inglewood’s average rent, as determined by RENTCafe, or $5,310 this year.

The council has to vote on the rules one more time before the they can go into effect.