Earlier this week, lawmakers in Inglewood, California pushed through a rent stabilization ordinance that seeks to protect residents who are struggling to stay in their homes due to surging rents in the area. One of the main reasons that rents have skyrocketed is due the construction of a $2.6 billion stadium and entertainment complex where both the Rams and Chargers are set to play.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said rents had risen steadily since 2012, and continued to climb more rapidly when news of the stadium deal was announced three years later. Corporate investors have bought up apartment buildings and increased rents as high as 140%, or issued eviction notices in order to re-rent units at a higher price.
The rule is hardly a long-term fix. Rather, it offers tenants a 45-day reprieve from having their rents increased by more than five percent or from being evicted unless “the underlying reason is for criminality or drug use.” Tenants had told city officials that landlords were doubling their rents in some cases. Because Inglewood has no rent stabilization laws on the books, landlords are free to drastically increase rents with only 60 days notice.
The story of residents being priced out of their neighborhoods or otherwise displaced because of the development some new stadium or office complex—which are often built with taxpayer subsidies—is not a new one. It’s happened in many cities around the country, including Los Angeles, where families were displaced by the construction of the Staples Center in the late ‘90s.
The Inglewood sports complex isn’t the only destabilizing force that California residents will have to deal with in the coming years. As this boosterish article by the Los Angeles Times’s Arash Markazi points out, the city is set to become the “center of the sporting universe for the next decade.” He lists all of the major events coming to Los Angeles over the next 10 years, including Super Bowl LVI, the MLB All-Star game, the 2026 World Cup, and the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The 2028 Olympics are about nine years away but its looming arrival has already impacted rent stabilized housing in the downtown area as the city moves to increase hotel capacity in anticipation of the Games. For example, in downtown L.A. longtime residents are facing eviction so that developers can build “the Fig,” a new mixed-use development that will include student housing, mixed income housing, office space, and a hotel. The need for hotel space in connection to the upcoming Olympics has been explicitly noted by supporters of the project. So much for a “no build” Olympics.