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South Bay Digest

Gardena : Binding Rent Arbitration

February 26, 1987

An ordinance introduced this week would establish binding arbitration of rent disputes.

Gardena has a mandatory but non-binding mediation procedure through its Rent Mediation Board. A tenant can file a petition with the board, which then holds a hearing that the tenant and landlord must attend. If they cannot agree, the landlord can o raise the rent.

If the ordinance is adopted, a dispute would be submitted to an arbitrator whose decision would be binding.

The ordinance would require that landlords give tenants 60 days notice of an increase. According to City Atty. Michael Karger, this gives both parties the opportunity to seek mediation and arbitration before the increase.

Councilman Mas Fukai opposed the ordinance: "The mediation board is working well. . . . We're selling out to one individual who is circulating a petition for rent control." Fukai referred to Terry Kennedy, who is circulating petitions for a rent-control ordinance.

The ordinance this week was requested by Councilman James Cragin, who described it as "an escape valve" from "blanket rent control."

"In city after city, with a lot of development, pressure builds up and people want rent control," he said. "This is similar but doesn't compare to a blanket rent control. If we do nothing, we'll wish we'd had that escape valve."

The council will vote on the ordinance March 10.

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