News Alert: South Pasadena Eliminates Substantial Remodels

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On November 15th, the South Pasadena City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits substantial remodel as a reason to terminate a tenancy. As a result, they have sentenced renters who are living in older buildings to receiving less than equal living accommodations versus those renters in newer buildings since rental housing providers will no longer have the ability to make improvements or upgrades.   It will also drive more mom-and-pop owners out of business and their properties off the market by forcing them to sell the building “as is” when major repairs are needed to corporations.

Under the ordinance, an owner will now only be allowed to “temporarily” relocate existing renters to conduct substantial repairs as already defined by state law. To do so, owners must pay renters relocation fees in an amount equal to two times the daily per diem of their existing rent or two times the daily Federal Government Services Administration per diem, whichever is higher, in addition to provisions for meals and "incidentals".

Favoring large corporations over small mom-and-pop owners, the City Council added language to the ordinance to allow an option for “voluntary” buyout agreements with renters.  Unfortunately, such “cash for keys” solution can only be exercised by owners with pockets deep enough to pay for this alternative.  Clearly, the City Council is more concerned with preserving rights for those with substantial financial assets than for mom-and-pop owners providing naturally occurring affordable rental housing. It is a travesty that the City Council turned a blind eye to the plight of small businesses owned predominantly by retirees and new immigrants by failing to offer any solutions such as lower temporary relocation fees or a complete exemption from this ordinance for all non-corporate rental housing providers.

The worst is yet to come as City Council Members all concurred that more restrictions against rental housing providers, a.k.a. “tenant protections,” are necessary, and that this is only the beginning. Council Member Michael Cacciotti expressed support for reevaluating the ordinance’s impact three months after its passage.  Unfortunately, that will be far too late for many mom-and-pop owners already struggling to maintain their properties after several years of unpaid rent due to statewide COVID-19 moratoriums, and as a result the City will lose more of its scarce naturally occurring affordable rental housing in the process.  

We urge AAGLA members with properties in South Pasadena to sign up for an Advocacy Team to help fight back against the upcoming additional proposed restrictions and make your voice heard!  Please email David Kaishchyan at for more information about joining an Advocacy Team.


This article is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions regarding your property or specific tenancies and the requirements of any local law changes described herein, please consult with an attorney.