According to consultant Arnold Steinberg, who designed the survey, 41.7% of the new tenants had annual incomes of $40,000 or more, and 66.9% earned more than $30,000 annually. Just 3.4% of new tenants were black or Latino.
New tenants were largely childless and under 65 years of age.
Jagiello said these statistics prove that generally wealthy, white, young professionals–including celebrities–are moving in to Santa Monica and that the intended beneficiaries of rent control–the needy–are kept out.
Minorities and the poor are not part of the “friendship network” of renters who help their friends get apartments in Santa Monica by telling them of coming vacancies, and they cannot afford under-the-table finders’ fees of up to $3,000, he said.
Instead, landlords end up subsidizing tenants who often earn more than the landlords do, he said.
“There’s an army of doctors, lawyers and stockbrokers who are getting the golden goodies. (The owners’) wealth is being transferred to them,” Jagiello said.
Rosenbaum dismissed these arguments, saying they have nothing to do with the case and, furthermore, are not substantiated.
In his written response, Rosenbaum said the rent control law was not enacted “solely to benefit certain subclasses of tenants” but to protect tenants from arbitrary eviction and excessive rent increases, goals that are being met.
In addition, he said, the survey is “grossly incomplete” because it only dealt with 2,226 units in a city of 30,000 units.
“Moreover, the fact that landlords select only certain types of tenants for their apartments is not a criticism of the Rent Control Law, but instead demonstrates the considerable flexibility landlords still possess concerning to whom they can rent their apartments,” Rosenbaum said.
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