Tenant Protection and Homelessness
In order to properly provide protection for renters in the City of Ventura stronger tenant protections must be created to ensure that no tenant is without knowledge of their rights and that the City itself is not mired in further movements to support corporate landlords and the short-term rental industry. In order to accomplish this there are important steps that the City of Ventura must take, among them housing first homeless services, a city-wide rental registry and rental cap, restrictions on short-term property rentals, a vacancy tax, and a moratorium on Airbnbs, an eviction defense for tenants and mandatory language in leases stating what a tenants’ rights are with regard to their renting and organizing.
It should first be noted that the City of Ventura should prioritize itself with housing first homeless services, prioritizing any unhoused person and assisting them in finding permanent housing. Our homeless neighbors are community members that deserve dignity and respect, regardless of whether they lost their home in a natural disaster such as the Thomas Fire, were pushed into insecure housing and homelessness by rising rental prices, etc. Adequate housing is a fundamental human right for all, as noted by the United Nations. By making sure that we as a City house our unhoused neighbors we create possibilities for the further enrichment of our communities and enable appropriate resources to reach our most vulnerable citizens.
A rental registry would establish transparency for tenants with regard to who they are renting from, the state of the property and would also allow for landlords to provide up-to-date information about their properties accessible to the landlord and the tenant. Rental registries have already been enacted in the Californian cities of Los Angeles, Fresno and Santa Cruz. These registries offer clarity to Ventura tenants and landlords that they do not have access to in our current rental climate. In addition, rental increases in the City of Ventura must be capped at an appropriate amount of money so that tenants are not pushed into precarious situations wherein they may become unhoused simply for being good long-term tenants and paying their rent each month of the year. The City of Oxnard recently enacted a rental cap that has placed their tenants in safe standing, ensuring that valuable community members will be able to stay to continue to live within and enrich their city. It is necessary for the City of Ventura to do the same to combat the gross increase in market rates that tenants have been faced with over the last decade.
Short-term property rentals have been pushing lifelong Ventura residents out of their neighborhoods in droves, especially among those who are immigrant, working class and disabled. In order to make sure that more citizens of the City of Ventura are not thrown out by the high market rate rents and predatory landlords, the City of Ventura must enact this necessary series of actions. The City must endeavor to create a vacancy tax and to place a moratorium on new Airbnbs. Ventura is a beautiful and diverse community, and it is in its citizens that its richness is truly visible. We must strive to keep Ventura’s tenants in their homes, and to preserve this the City must take the same measures that cities such as Temecula, Ojai, Los Angels and San Diego have enacted to keep their citizens housed. In addition, the City of Ventura must provide a safety net for our citizens and must create an eviction defense so that citizens faced with this violent act are able to appropriately defend themselves in a way that a single family household rarely can against a large, corporate landlord.
The City of Ventura must also move forward in making tenants themselves aware of their powers and mandate language in leases be made clear noting tenants rights. Renters in the City of Ventura are often fearful or reprisal with regard to their right to organize or communicate as a unit with their landlord. These are rights that every renter is guaranteed to and should be informed of, as it often assists greatly in communication between tenant(s) and their landlord. By making this language mandatory the City will be helping both tenants and landlords navigate their relationship together with clarity and ease.
We Must consider these measures as means to assist the tenants of the City of Ventura as they work and grow within our community. Without them the city will continue to lose valuable communities and generations who have called Ventura home.