The California Apartment Association today escalated its legal battle against Pasadena’s rent control law, filing an opening brief in the appellate court contesting the constitutionality of the measure.

CAA’s brief presents several key points of contention in its continued legal challenge against Measure H, the rent control law passed by city voters in fall 2022.

The appellate court’s decision on this matter will have significant implications for the future of rent control in Pasadena and potentially beyond. CAA commits to closely monitoring the developments and providing updates as the case unfolds in the court of appeal.

  • Charter revision vs. amendment: CAA asserts that the rent control law, passed as Measure H in fall 2022, is not merely an amendment but a significant revision to Pasadena’s city charter. The measure, which nearly doubled the charter’s length and established a new, independent branch of city government, necessitates a more thorough charter revision process, CAA contends.
  • Unconstitutional board composition: CAA’s brief further argues that the rent board, as established by Measure H, imposes unconstitutional restrictions on board membership. Specifically, it mandates that seven of the 11 board seats be occupied by tenants, with no seats reserved for rental housing providers. Moreover, the CAA contends that the four seats where rental housing providers could potentially serve offer fewer privileges and protections compared to the tenant-occupied seats. Whitney Prout, CAA’s executive vice president of legal affairs, further highlights this perceived inequity in a recent op-ed in the Pasadena Star-News, stating, “The board is designed to be hostile to rental housing providers.”
  • Relocation assistance requirement: CAA’s brief challenges the legality of Measure H’s requirement that relocation assistance be paid to tenants who opt to vacate due to rent increases. This aspect of the measure, CAA argues, unlawfully applies to units exempt from rent control under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

The filing of this opening brief signifies a critical phase in the association’s effort to overturn or modify portions of Measure H.

The association filed its appeal in April 2023 after Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel upheld the measure, despite CAA’s claims.

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