Inglewood extends rent control ordinance as city weighs permanent option

As construction on the NFL stadium is nearly two-thirds complete, the City of Inglewood is struggling to strike a balance between surging economic development and what many see as inflated housing costs.

Trying to balance the scales is Inglewood Mayor James Butts, who toured the LA Stadium and Entertainment District construction on Monday.

Twenty-four hours later, the mayor announced the 60-day extension of an emergency ordinance limiting rent increases and evictions as they draft a more permanent solution.

"The average rent for an equivalent size apartment in Inglewood is less than that in South Bay," said Mayor James T. Butts, Jr., "but we don't anticipate that will be the situation much longer.

"I feel the most bad for those who are middle-class and struggling with rent and seniors who have lived for generations here," said longtime Inglewood resident Gregory Johnson. "And now the property values have gone up so high, and it's driving them out of their homes.

Residents like Gregory say Inglewood's renaissance is not solely due to the new stadium. The Forum, a possible Clippers arena, and a new Metro line have also contributed.

"My wife and I bought it three years ago with the idea of being part of the resurgence, revitalizing of downtown Inglewood," said Owen Smith, owner of The Miracle theater in Inglewood. "So Metro actually brought us here."

Smith and his wife Mariana say they spotted the city's potential even before the stadium was announced. Three years after that announcement, Smith admits "people are still trying to figure out what it's going to mean for the community."

"I'm not just an owner. I'm still an individual in this community, so I understand where both sides of the argument are coming from," said a man speaking to the Council during the public comment period.

The mayor says the forthcoming permanent solution will, cap annual rent increases, limit rent increases to once per year, mandate relocation allowances for increases that exceed 4%, and establish a "Just Cause" eviction policy.

Though some residents expressed they felt more should be done. "We need to keep people in Inglewood, not just give them a consolation prize for being kicked out."

The City Council also approved the purchase of vacant land for $520k that it says will specifically be used to build affordable housing, the first affordable housing built in the city since 2013.

You can read the entire Housing Protection Initiative report here or by visiting the city of Inglewood website.