Rent Control in Culver City is not about politics or ‘big business’ as Jeff Schwartz wrote in his Oct. 1 Letter to the Editor. Culver City has a unique blend of property owners: those who bought early or inherited and pay no mortgage and 1970s property taxes and those who bought in recent years with high mortgages and property tax bills 1000%+ of what the former group pays. This is not about politics but about accepting that the cost of living in Culver City has increased exponentially in recent years.
In 1995, a 2-bedroom rented for $600; you could buy a 3-bedroom house for $325,000; insurance was $50/month; and the minimum wage was $4.25. Today, minimum wage is $15 (400% increase); houses cost $1.8 million (600% increase); and those same 2-bedrooms rent for $2200 (350%). Vacancies have exploded over the past nine months, causing rents to drop even lower.
Rent without controls is increasing at a much slower rate than the other costs in Culver City. Just this past year, water increased 25%; insurance 35%; and labor 30%. These are hard costs that a property owner must pay. This year, we had a major plumbing issue at a cost of $1800. The tenants did not pay a penny of this bill. However, to offset the cost, we had to stop using a gardener. Sadly, unlike homeowners, tenants have no interest in caring for the yard. We are not sure what cuts we will have to make next year if there is another major bill that is outside the budget.
For those that are homeowners, ask yourself what costs have increased over the past few years: water, trash, plumbing expenses, appliance repair, painting, maintenance, roof repair, property taxes (recall any new bonds) or insurance. Renters do not pay these expense increases. Rent control in Culver City harbors tenants from real life expenses.
The Culver City Council was incorrect to think Culver City was important enough to set its own rent levels. Our big “sister” Los Angeles sets the market for rentals. Rents for a typical Culver City rental has changed minimally over the past 5 years. The astronomical rents are for the new, fancy, “Smart” homes recently built. Not all rentals in Culver City should be judged by a small percentage of high-end homes.
Vote against duplicating the State rent control as it will only hurt the 80% of landlords that are “mom and pops”, and the neighbors who have to live next to a dilapidated building as expenses are cut, along with creating more pension burden for the City. Tenants should share the burden of rising costs in Culver City. The City should develop programs to provide assistance for those in need as the community as a whole has a responsibility to provide affordable housing not just a small share of our business owners. Measure B looks out for the Mom and Pops; the small business owner.
Also, please beware of emails representing themselves as local “Moms” that are actually sent by political consultants not registered to vote in Culver City. We received one on our child’s email through the school system.
— Ella Mendoza, Small Business Owner in Culver City
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