Letter to the Editor: Resident Would like to See Local Tenant Protections

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Letter to the Editor:

On Tuesday, April 23rd, dozens of Burbank renters came out to City Council to share their experiences living in Burbank. Single-family home renters (who make up almost half of all renters in the city) shared their struggles with a complete lack of protections, even at the state level. Some tenants shared horror stories of their landlords threatening them with evictions or maximum rent increases. Many local entertainment industry workers shared how yearly massive rent increases are pushing them out of their homes, out of this city. 

 My wife and I are in the same boat. We moved to Burbank to be closer to our work in the city. Even with two good careers in the entertainment industry and decent raises over the past few years, we have not been able to keep up with the annual $200+ per month rent increases that are commonplace here. 

 We’re not alone. According to a city staff report from last year, the majority of Burbank residents (58%) are renters. Of them, 56% are rent-burdened meaning that they need to spend more than 30% of their income on rent and 31% were categorized as “severely rent-burdened”, spending more than 50% of their income on rent. 

 The housing affordability crisis is a complex problem for which there is no silver bullet. It will require a lot of policy changes, including building more housing to meet the demand, but with a 3:1 jobs-to-housing units ratio, we’re not going to meet that demand overnight or even in the next decade. 

 In the meantime, our community is hurting. When Burbank’s renters hurt, the whole city hurts. When renters are pushed out of Burbank, our local businesses lose skilled workers and institutional knowledge, our schools lose talented students and dedicated parents, our local organizations lose helpful volunteers, our local democracy loses engaged citizens, and our neighborhoods lose supportive neighbors. Burbank City Council has been deliberating on housing affordability and local tenant protections for almost two years now. It’s time to take action to protect our community members from extreme rent increases and no-fault evictions. 

Matt Fabius
Burbank

    BurCal Apartments8715

    1 COMMENT

    1. Mr. Fabius, this is one of the most well-written and important Letters to the Editor I have seen recently.

      You’ve nailed the problem on the head and you’ve more than proven your point. Living in Burbank has become unaffordable for most renters. Even two income families who work in the entertainment industry can’t afford the yearly, and may I say, outrageous rent increases.

      As I see it, this isn’t only a problem in Burbank. It’s a citywide problem and there doesn’t seem to be an immediate solution.

      Renters have a right to protection from both the state and federal levels. Without them, we’re going to see a tsunami of homelessness as people can no longer afford to pay rent.

      When the choice is paying for food or paying rent, food will, and must, always come first.

      The City of Burbank must come to the aid of their renters.

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