October 25, 2022
By Rebecca Riddle, Analyst
During my first year at RSG, I have been grateful to take part in many impactful housing projects across the state of California. With our recent work for the City of Santa Ana, I had the opportunity to help craft the long-term implementation plan of the City’s newly adopted Rent Stabilization Ordinance (“RSO”) and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance (“JCEO”).
Complex housing topics, such as landlord and tenant relations, were what originally led me to join RSG. While in graduate school, I focused my studies on issues surrounding housing and houselessness. To develop this interest further, I interned with a local unlawful detainer clinic where I interacted directly with both tenants and landlords by listening to their stories and providing legal information regarding the eviction process. I was deeply moved by these tales of human experiences and yearned to learn more about the policies that govern them. After only a few months at RSG, the opportunity to join this Santa Ana project arose, and it was the perfect fit for my personal and professional interests.
In late 2021, Santa Ana became the first city in Orange County to adopt an RSO, and RSG has been involved from the beginning. We helped announce and launch the City’s ordinances by creating a press release, website content, letter to property owners, and informational flyers; hosting public workshops; and providing other administrative assistance. After the initial launch, we transitioned to crafting the long-term implementation plan with the City with the intent to create a strong and effective rent stabilization and just cause eviction program.
To create this plan, RSG researched all existing ordinances and their associated programs across California to understand trends statewide. Then, our team focused on seven comparable jurisdictions to understand program requirements, administrative structure and resources, program revenue and expenses, program enforcement, and to identify best practices for the City to consider. After researching each program, I was part of the sub-team that interviewed staff from all seven jurisdictions to gather pertinent anecdotal information that is not publicly available. Hearing directly from program administrators in jurisdictions with ordinances both old and new painted a picture of the complexities of rent stabilization and just cause eviction programs. The culmination of this research allowed us to craft a strong implementation plan for Santa Ana to present to City Council.
From my previous experience assisting tenants and landlords through the legal process to now being part of a project that implements tenant and landlord policies, I am thankful to have had a full-circle experience. It has allowed me to develop my research and writing skills while crafting a plan that will have a direct positive impact on the thousands of residents of the City.