Pasadena Relocation Fees

New financial assistance has been approved for tenants living in Pasadena who must vacate their rental units through no fault of their own — and they’re among the most generous offered in the region.



About these fees

The relocation fees range from around $6,000 to just over $37,500 depending on factors including the length of tenancy, the number of bedrooms in the unit, and in special cases, a tenant’s age and the state of their health.

They apply to “no fault” evictions, which let landlords take back their rental properties for things like major repairs, or owner and family member occupancy. The new fees, plus an additional moving expense allowance, also cover tenants who are seeing excessive rent increases.

The Pasadena Rental Housing Board approved the financial assistance in late September. The vote was 8 to 2, with one abstaining member.



A growing number of cities pass tenant laws

Pasadena is among a slew of Southern California cities that have adopted tenant laws, from caps on rent increases to limits on evictions amid sky high housing costs. The new relocation fees are modeled after those passed in the city and county of Los Angeles.

“Those are the nearest municipalities to Pasadena and probably the most similar to the conditions that we’re experiencing here,” said Ryan Bell, chair of the Pasadena Rental Housing Board who voted for the fees.

Bell said the board’s policy committee took into account what’s considered a fair rate to rent a place in Pasadena in determining the amounts.



How it works in Pasadena




Two charts showing fees landlords in Pasadena must pay to remove tenants from their rental units.


Pasadena’s relocation fees for renters displaced by no-fault evictions. “Special Circumstances Household” are those consist of at least one tenant who is over the age of 60, terminally ill, disabled or is a child.


“The relocation assistance, even if it seems like a lot of money to folks, is something that runs out after a while,” Bell said. “Because if I’m paying $200, $300, even maybe $1,000 more per month in rent, you can see that even $20,000 only goes so far.”



Landlords push back

Landlord groups are balking at the fees.

“Typically, what other cities have are three months at the most. Under California law, it’s one month. And so, [Pasadena has] far exceeded any other city in California,” said Dan Yukelson, executive director of The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles.

Yukelson said the fees will dissuade property owners from making the necessary repairs to their rental units, and unduly penalizes landlords.

“Owners are suffering financially today,” Yukelson said. “They’ve lost jobs. They need to move into their own properties just to have a place to live. I’m hearing about that more and more. And to have to pay this type of bounty of $37,000 and some change is just ridiculous.”

Yukelson said the hefty amounts could open the policy up to litigation.



What’s next

It’s something that the Pasadena Rental Housing Board has looked into. Karen Tideman is a lawyer who’s been working with the board.

“The technical challenge would be that relocation assistance results in a regulatory taking of the property owner’s property, depriving them of use of the property. That’s the primary challenge,” Tideman said. “We think that the fee is reasonable will withstand a court challenge.”

Bell, the board chair, added that Pasadena’s relocation fees are in line with other cities in the region, specifically noting that Santa Monica’s program provides just over $37,000 to displaced tenant in similar circumstances.

He added that the rental board plans to consider ways to lessen the fees’ effect on landlords with “one or two” rental units.

But in a city where 57% of households are renting, the fees are meant to preserve the place for everyone.

“We’re trying to just help people relocate and be able to afford to live in their community when they’re displaced due to a decision that they didn’t make — they didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “The goal is that if folks want to stay in Pasadena, then they should be able to do that.

Go deeper: Will Pasadena Be The Next City To Adopt Rent Control? Voters Will Decide This Election


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