South Pasadena  Strengthens Rent Mediation & Education

On June 7th, The South Pasadena City Council voted to strengthen rent mediation and education outreach services in response to concerns over high rents. For the last several months the City has engaged on a  fact finding mission on how to best handle rising rents and economic displacement. This effort was sparked by a large rent increase in a building that needed major repairs. The Council also requested to further look into building accessory dwelling units to increase supply in the City.
Mediation boards and better education are proven ways to help resolve community conflicts. Mediation helps facilitate discussion and open communication between the disputing parties and allows for a face to face interaction. Discussion and negotiation, coupled with better education to all residents is a recipe for better results. Everyone needs to know the law and be responsible for following it. Both tenants and landlords have an interest in resolving the dispute amicably and creating an environment of respect.
What the City of South Pasadena is currently experiencing is a regional issue and may be particularly acute in the City as it is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. This is the assessment of the California Legislative Analyst,  as they stated in a 2015 study that found there was more demand than supply of housing in California. “California is a very desirable place to live, with temperate weather, long stretches of coastline, and highly educated and culturally diverse economic centers. Many households wish to live in California. However, some of California’s most sought after locations—its major coastal metros (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Ana-Anaheim), where around two-thirds of Californians live—do not have sufficient housing to accommodate all of the households that want to live here.”.  According to a recent study, Current State Of the Housing Market by Next10,  “from 2005 to 2015, permits for only 21.5 housing units were filed for every new 100 residents in California, less than  any other state except Alaska”. There is not enough housing in California to meet the demand, plain and simple.
Solutions such as mediation and outreach are far more productive than other methods to combat increasing rents such as rent controls which ultimately make the problem much worse. As society we need to focus on solutions not feel good measures.