No-fault evictions in Redondo Beach could become a thing of the past by next week.
The City Council this week unanimously directed staff to draw up an urgency ordinance that would bar landlords from evicting tenants without cause until a similar state law takes effect on Jan. 1. The council will take up the law at its next meeting and, if approved, it would go into effect immediately and apply to all renters — even those who've already received eviction notices.
"It's really gouging," Mayor Bill Brand said Tuesday night, Nov. 5.
Roughly half of the 28,000 Redondo Beach households are renters.
Brand said he has received a lot of complaints from renters in recent weeks and it was incumbent on the council to do something.
"You can still evict somebody for cause and raise the rent," he added, "but to sit back and allow landlords to take advantage of a two-month window is not right."
The state's Tenant Protection Act of 2019 outlaws evictions without just cause. If landlords want to substantially remodel and an eviction is required, they will need to provide moving expenses equal to one month's rent. The law also limits annual rent increases to 5% plus inflation no greater than 10% per year; current law allows for rent increases greater than 10% with a 60-day notice.
But, as it turns out, many renters in California have received 60-day move-out notices ahead of the state law going into effect.
One of those is Redondo Beach resident Keziah Dhamma. On Tuesday, Dhamma said she received an eviction notice the day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the act into law.
If she and her partner didn't move out, Dhamma said her landlord told her, they would face a 30% rent increase. Dhamma is pregnant, she told the City Council, so the timing was less than ideal.
"It’s just been a bit of a nightmare," she said.
Redondo's proposed urgency ordinance, which the council is set to vote on during its Nov. 12 meeting, would prevent these last-minute evictions.
The proposed urgency ordinance may also include a provision on rent increases, based on discussion at Tuesday's meeting. Several residents on Tuesday said they faced steep rent increases, more than 30%, following announcement of the state law.
A recent survey found that about 39% of Redondo Beach renters already pay more than 30% of their household incomes on rent.
If the urgency ordinance passes, Redondo Beach would join Torrance, Los Angeles, Milpitas, Redwood City and Santa Cruz in creating no-fault eviction moratoriums, according to Redondo Beach City Manager Joe Hoefgen. Pasadena was considering a similar stance too, Hoefgen said. And next week, the Long Beach City Council will also consider an urgency ordinance to ban no-fault evictions through the end of the year.
"These evictions border on the criminal. It really does," said Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim. "It's pure greed. We’ll do everything we can."