The City Council in Glendale, a community with some of the highest monthly rents in Southern California, has ordered a six-month rent freeze to protect tenants while the council ponders ways to help renters mitigate that particular cost of living.

The action was taken to protect tenants from reactionary landlords while city staff works out a rent stabilization ordinance in the wake of the defeat of Proposition 10, which would have amended state law to allow cities to establish rent control in their communities. The ballot measure went down to defeat in the Nov. 6 election, winning just 38 percent of the votes cast statewide.

The Glendale Tenants Union (GTU) has been fighting for rent control for two years. Despite failing to get an ordinance on the ballot, the group has successfully rallied large numbers of tenants to the council meetings. A similar push for rent control failed in Pasadena earlier this year.

“This is huge. It is a testament to everything that [Glendale Tenants Union] have done that for the first time our City Council is finally actually considering policy that will help tenants,” said GTU founding member Jedidjah de Vries in a prepared statement. “This is not the outcome the landlord and real estate special interest groups wanted. They wanted the City Council to pat us on the head, offer some half-hearted nonsolution, and continue ignoring our real needs and concerns.”

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan announced his support for rent control in September and directed staff to draft a report on housing, income inequality and the affordability crisis, with information on the potential benefits and drawbacks of a rent control program.

About two-thirds of Glendale residents are renters, and according to the city’s own data, 63 percent of them are “burdened by housing overpayment,” meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

More than 150 Glendale tenants, homeowners and property owners in support of rent control rallied in front of Glendale City Hall last week, but as they were gathering in support of rent control dozens of landlords crowded into the lobby, preventing any rent-control supporters from getting into the council chambers.

“Unincorporated Los Angeles County just voted 4-1 to create rent stabilization and a majority of Glendale voters chose Yes on Proposition 10. The housing affordability crisis deserves immediate action, and this is a good step forward,” said GTU member Hayk Makhmuryan.

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