Some LTC slots are up for grabs tomorrow night, and staff has this to say about the process:
Please note Ordinance No. 3008 [the establishing law for the Landlord-Tenant Commission] has only been amended once on January 13, 1987, when Council adopted Ordinance No. 3058 (Exhibit B) which renumbered the code.
The Commission has been active for 37 years and meets on the first Monday of every month in the Community Room located in the Burbank Community Services Building. The Commission consists of five (5) members. Of the current four (4) members, 1 is a homeowner and 3 are renters. The homeowner is a landlord for two properties, not in Burbank. The three (3) renters are not landlords. Currently, the Ordinance does not specify how the make-up of the five (5) members shall be.
1. Until about 2002 or so the LTC had strict operating rules that required a 2-2-1 tenant/landlord ratio and an investigatory/report policy where one of the reps would be assigned to each complaint. They then had to later report back to the full Commission in writing with whatever the outcome was. These rules though were quietly eliminated about a dozen years ago.
So why was that? And we also clearly recall seeing a different BMC on this topic back in the late 1990s–early 2000s that spelled out the same operating policies. It was back when Victor Wolfe was on the commission.
2. Staff may claim that three of the LTC members are “renters,” but how many of them work in property management? You don’t have to be a “landlord” to represent landlord interests, and the last few years we’ve been seeing almost only LTC applicants from the world of property management.
Such as last month’s open selection for the guy who was recently tossed out for absenteeism. Most property management employees live in apartments now, not houses, and so rental status doesn’t necessarily equate to being on the tenant’s side of a dispute.
It is though a great way to slide landlord interests onto the backs of the supposed tenants. Hey, they’re renters, so don’t worry! Just why are so many of these LTC applications now coming from property management employees?
Years ago much was made by critics that one of the old “tenant” slots on the LTC was held by a woman who was only a tenant because she’d been renting a house from her parents, and that it was a sham appointment because of her clear favoritism towards landlords. So there’s a history here with shady LTC representation in Burbank that isn’t all it seems to be.
This following citation is also misleading. The LTC was originally set up because at least one of the city’s old HUD grants required it, and much was also made of this fact back in the mid-1980s.
Why else would Burbank establish such a tribunal against potential landlord interests? Where do you think we live, Santa Monica or West Hollywood? It wasn’t totally voluntary for Burbank to do so, and it’s nonsense for staff to state such now.
According to the City Council minutes dated December 18, 1979 (Exhibit C), the Landlord-Tenant Voluntary Arbitration Committee was established by the City Council “as a panel to attempt to solve some of the problems of the renters and the landlord.” The makeup of the committee did not distinguish a specific composition.
On July 2, 1985, the City Council formally changed the Committee to the Landlord-Tenant Commission by adopting Ordinance No. 3008 (Exhibit B). The Commission often addresses a wide variety of issues, including conflicts involving property maintenance, repairs, lease disagreements, evictions, rent increases and at times mediate between the landlord and the tenants. The Commission has limited ability to solve all problems unless the issue involves a potential violation of the Municipal Code or other local regulations. However, the Commission can often resolve issues involving property maintenance by referring the complaint to the Code Enforcement Division to determine if a health or safety violation has occurred.
You know what happens when they do? Inspectors come out to “work” with the landlords. There are rarely any citations.
Where do you think we live?