Members of the Pacific Southwest Association of REALTORS® (PSAR) made a powerful statement for property rights on behalf of housing providers while attending a recent Chula Vista City Council meeting where the subject of a new rent control ordinance was on the docket.
The City Council was considering an aggressive and overreaching ordinance that imposes additional regulations on housing providers. The controversial proposal, if passed, would negatively impact new housing creation by tightening restrictions on remodeling, owner move-ins and rental unit withdrawals, as well as expanding noticing and relocation assistance requirements.
Following over five hours of public comments, including testimony from many PSAR members, the City Council tabled a vote on the proposed ordinance, titled the “Residential Landlord and Tenant Provisions.” The Council stated that more data on the topic and potential language revisions are needed.
The actions taken by PSAR members were considered invaluable in the successful effort to prevent the Council from implementing an ordinance that would exacerbate the housing crisis. A revised version of the ordinance is expected to be considered by the City Council at a July 12 session.
Among the PSAR members who spoke at the May 17 city council meeting: Pat Russiano, Mike Campbell, Mark Scott, Nikki Coppa, Rich D'Ascoli, Yvonne Cromer, Robert Cromer, Mitch Thompson, George Ching, Eric Sutton, Peter Carlseen, Sam Calvano, Lupe Soto, Earl Jentz, Myllissa McCann and Josh Morales.
Richard D’Ascoli, PSAR CEO, stated in his testimony, “Most housing providers and owners are good people and most renters are good people. This extreme ordinance will punish every homeowner who may want to rent out a home and every renter who can’t find a place to rent.”
D’Ascoli cited a city staff report that included information from the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. According to the data, “no-fault” eviction disputes involve fewer than .27 percent of the 33,000 rental homes in Chula Vista annually, pointing to a much smaller issue.
The number of evictions totaled 13 in March, three in February, and seven in January. “Shouldn’t we help those 13 households rather than impact 33,000 rental units?” D’Ascoli asked. “Most housing providers are good actors, it’s the few we need to address. Let’s focus on them and not punish the entire city.”
D’Ascoli identified the long-term ramifications of the proposed ordinance: “Rent control and similar market restrictions will discourage the creation, maintenance, and upgrade of rental housing stock. This ordinance will discourage additional rehab and negatively impact the low-income renters the provisions were intended to serve. This ordinance also will reduce the value of properties in Chula Vista, compared to similar properties in other cities. Prudent property owners will choose to buy or build in areas with less cost and regulatory risk.
“Chula Vista will stagnate as the incentive to replacing aging, smaller complexes with upgraded, more dense buildings will no longer exist. Owners of single-family rental homes will either sell to national real estate investment trusts or they will sell to new owner-occupants. Available rental stock will decrease. Prices for renters will increase because supply will continue to be highly restricted. Also worrisome is the provision that anyone who violates any part of this law could be charged with a crime and sent to jail for up to six months.”
Other speakers from PSAR made the following points:
-- Burdensome regulations will result in less available housing, not more. This ordinance adds to the regulatory burden.
-- Provisions in the ordinance meant to prevent harassment of tenants would deter property owners from dealing with nuisance tenants.
-- Added renovation regulations would deter owners from upgrading rental properties, thus hurting tenants and surrounding neighborhoods.
-- The ordinance would create new, vague “anti-harassment” rules regulating landlord-tenant interaction, expanded notification requirements of up to 365 days, and higher relocation payments.
-- Landlords would be required to offer evicted renters, even if those renters caused property damage, the first right of refusal to move back in after a renovation.
-- The state of California recently enacted protections for tenants with AB 1482. That law provides sufficient regulation of landlord-tenant relationships.
Coalition partners with PSAR on the proposed Chula Vista ordinance included the Southern California Rental Housing Association (SCRHA) and the San Diego Association of REALTORS® (SDAR).
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Chula Vista City Council Considers Controversial Tenant Protection Ordinance - PSAR board member Jason Lopez explains the proposal is a solution looking for a problem. KUSI-TV, 05/18/2022.
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Chula Vista Council Hears from Over 50 Speakers - The meeting lasted for hours as landlords say the proposed ordinance would force them to sell their properties. KGTV-TV 10News, 05/17/2022.
Decision Postponed on Controversial Renters' Protections - Quote from PSAR CEO Rich D'Ascoli: "...An ordinance that is overreaching..." KFMB-TV, CBS8, 05/18/2022.