By Monique Svazlian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
GLENDALE, Calif. – After a months-long debate on the future of rent stabilization in the city of Glendale, City Council members passed a “right-to-lease” ordinance in a 3-0 vote during the February 12 City Council meeting. The chambers were filled with landlords and tenants who for months have been pleading their case. A clear divide could be heard with landlords arguing that a rent control measure would be an attack on their livelihoods and tenants, represented by predominately Armenian and immigrant community members, saying they are being forcefully relocated out of the community.
In a surprise last minute twist, Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, a lone voice of support for rent control on the City Council, was forced to recuse himself upon the recommendation of City Attorney Mike Garcia, who determined that comments he had made on Armenian television a few weeks prior were “biased” and constituted grounds for recusal.
The only remaining council members who voted in favor of “right-to-lease” were Paula Devine, Vrej Agajanian and Vartan Gharpetian. Ara Najarian was also forced to recuse himself because of prior interest in rental properties owned in Glendale.
Although “right-to-lease”has been sold by council members as rent control, this measure is in fact not rent control and does nothing to address curbing runaway rent increases that are forcing long-time residents out of the city of Glendale. It calls for a mandatory one-year lease offered to tenants during which period rents cannot be raised, as well as relocation fees if the tenant refuses any increases above 7 percent, based on the length of time the tenant has resided in the unit.