Fair market rents govern the total rent that can be paid to a Section 8 landlord through housing assistance.
“HUD’s proposed 2016 reductions in the Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for Section 8 voucher holders in the Alameda area do not reflect the current rental market that both Section 8 and non-Section 8 renters are facing,” Vanessa Cooper, executive director of The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda, told Action Alameda News.
“We have requested that HUD delay the implementation of the new rents, so that AHA can complete a market rental survey. AHA has contracted for this study at a cost of $110,000 (to be shared with other Housing agencies) and expects to have the new data by mid-December for submission to HUD.”
The 34 page comment letter submitted to HUD, reproduced below, notes that the federal agency has proposed fair market rent decreases ranging from 1.35 percent for a studio apartment to 1.63 percent to a three-bedroom apartment to 10.65 percent for a four-, five- or six-bedroom apartment, even as rents have climbed in the Bay area.
The letter notes that lowering the fair market rents is likely to increase “the exodus of landlords from the Section 8 program, further displacing low and very low income families.”
Cooper notes that, the Alameda housing authority “already has difficulty retaining landlords in this tight rental market as landlords have many choices of renters willing and able to pay the full market price.”
Separately, middle-income renters in Alameda have been calling for the introduction of rent control and rent increase moratoriums over the past 18 months, as rents have climbed.
Alameda City Council is set to hold a special meeting next week to receive a report from BAE Urban Economics on the local impacts of rising rents.
City officials anticipate that meeting to be so well-attended that it has arranged for overflow rooms to be set up at
the Elks Lodge building next door to the Alameda Free Library, down the street from city hall.
The $110,000 Housing Authority study appears to be in addition to the $32,000 City of Alameda BAE Urban Economics study.