The Pasadena City Council on Monday unanimously approved the first reading of an amended Tenant Protection Ordinance (TPO) which now will protect tenants displaced by a change in a building’s ownership.

According to the amendment, the property owners will be required to provide relocation funds and moving expenses to income-qualified tenants in good standing if the tenancies are terminated within 18 months of the date the property is transferred.

According to a city staff report, “The changes expanding and enhancing the ordinance are intended to provide more assistance to displaced tenants and to keep pace with the rapidly rising rental housing market as directed by the City Council.”

Rents in Pasadena are among the highest in the state. A one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena costs about $2,100 a month, and landlords in California can increase the rent as much as they want.

According to Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP), a poll conducted by David Binder Research revealed that 69 percent of local voters support rent control and 82 percent support a law that would block evictions without a valid reason.

The poll also found high support for rent control in all seven council districts.

Several of the council members own rental property in Pasadena, including Council members Victor Gordo, John Kennedy and Margaret McAustin. Gordo recused himself on Monday. Kennedy and McAustin made statements that the ordinance would not impact them and agreed to participate in the vote.

Councilman Steve Madison attempted to make the ordinance retroactive to Jan. 1 in order to offer protections to local residents that received eviction notices.

However, City Attorney Michelle Bagneris said that could not be done because the ordinance is penal, which means landlords could face criminal charges and have a right to know going forward that they are subject to laws.