Delano residents still waiting for update on rent control

March 23, 2023 /

On March 20, the rent control ordinance agenda item was tabled again at the Delano city council meeting. However, Delano residents are still waiting for an update on when it will be discussed.

Rosanai Paniagua, co-director of the organization Loud for Tomorrow, said the average rent for an apartment in Delano, CA, is $1468.00 monthly. The cost of rent varies depending on several factors, including location, size, and unit quality.

“To pay the rent stated in the previous statement, you must make $12.23 and work 120 hours that month, leaving them with a mere $396.00 for utilities, food, gas, and other expenses, including the taxes that were not drawn from that paycheck,” said Paniagua. “Tenants with a minimum wage job cannot keep up with housing costs in Delano due to the increasing rent. How can we expect the elder community and the younger population to thrive?”

About 4,781 households in Delano, CA, are renter-occupied. The main benefit of a rent-controlled apartment is that your rent can only get so high.

“The maximum amount a landlord can charge is dictated by local law, making it incredibly predictable. This doesn’t mean your rent will never rise in a rent-controlled apartment, as it certainly can,” said Paniagua. “If the local law raises the maximum allowed amount, your rent can go up to that amount. However, those increases tend to be highly metered, ensuring the rise in rent isn’t dramatic.”

Paniagua said predictable and limited rent increases are also the main benefit of rent-stabilized apartments. Again, how much your rent can go up when it comes time to renew your lease is restricted based on local law, allowing you to anticipate the change. Additionally, the maximum increase amount tends to be modest, preventing large rises in your monthly rent.

High rent prices force Delano families and neighbors out of their homes without legal protections for renters.. The Delano community needs relief, protection, and support from City Governances.

“You may have a greater sense of security in a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment. You don’t have to worry that you’ll wake up one morning to a notice stating that your landlord wants to raise the rent by $1,000. All the while, developers refuse to build more affordable units,” said Paniagua. “Additionally, many rent control and rent stabilization laws outline how often a landlord can levy and increase, further protecting you against the unexpected. Usually, this can lead to a significant amount of peace of mind.”

Housing justice advocates continue to unite to advocate and demand the Delano city council pass rent control. Organizations like Loud for Tomorrow, Central Valley Empowerment Alliance, Tenants Together, and Delano Guardians are requesting the city council to become more transparent with information and increase public engagement to find solutions to keep affordable housing for residents.

“Delano city council must stabilize the rent and implement the rent control ordinance proposed by the community – 70 percent of CPI and a 3% Cap in 5 years. By keeping the Delano community housed, we can continue allowing Delano to be the milestone marker for the valley and continue your legacy in your career,” said Paniagua.

These organizations are working together to get a rent control ordinance passed. This is a proposed law to keep rent reasonable and to ensure tenants aren’t subjected to unexpected large increases that could destabilize their financial security.

Unlike actual rent control, the legislation doesn’t set a hard maximum on how much a landlord can charge. The limit is tied to economic markers, like inflation. In others, it’s a specific percentage or metric the law outlines.

“After months of discussion and community requests, the Delano city council needs to prioritize the housing needs of residents,” said Paniagua. “ Actions like this remind the community that city council members and staff continue to hold back the voice of its residents. Nothing was passed during the meeting; the city council tabled the conversation and commented they would pick the discussion back next month.”