Measure H ties rent hikes to a fraction of inflation and creates an independent board

The rent control measure is a first for Pasadena, an expensive city that in recent years has often been at the forefront of the region’s wider tensions over housing affordability and an even broader clash between state and local control over development decisions. Earlier this year, Mayor Victor Gordo was involved in a protracted dispute with the California attorney general related to the city’s response to the state housing law SB 9; after months of legal threats and tense discourse, the state authority ultimately recognized the city’s right to declare certain exemptions to the controversial law.

The measure, which takes the form of a new city charter amendment, is likely to apply in full to about 25,000 apartment units in the city, representing a major disruption to its rental landscape.

The measure creates a new independent rental board to oversee the program and a registry to keep track of rent-controlled apartments. For qualifying properties, it will restrict annual rent increases to three quarters of the inflation rate and implement just cause eviction protections and relocation assistance mandates.

The legislative effort was financially backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and labor groups and also championed by a wide umbrella of housing and progressive groups, including the ACLU, L.A. County Democratic Party, Abundant Housing LA and the Pasadena Tenants Union.