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City Council Amends Urgency Rent Control Ordinance With Urgency Ordinance

City Council chambers were packed last night, due in part to consideration of a just-cause eviction ordinance. (Action Alameda News)

City Council chambers were packed last night, due in part to consideration of a just-cause eviction ordinance. (Action Alameda News)

Alameda City Council unanimously approved an ordinance last night that removed a just-cause eviction exemption from a November 4th urgency ordinance that enacted a 65-day moratorium on landlord-initiated lease terminations without cause, subject to certain exemption.

Sridahr Equities, the holding company that owns the 33-unit building at 470 Central Avenue, acted swiftly after the November 4th city council meeting, posting lease termination notices to all tenants, taking advantage of an exemption in the moratorium for substantial rehabilitation of the building.

The company had taken ownership of the property just days before the November 4th meeting, and CEO Matt Sridahr previously told Action Alameda News that the property was losing money on a monthly basis, and he felt he needed to act swiftly to protect his investment, pending even tougher rent control and just-cause eviction laws in the new year, after the expiration of the moratorium.

He also said that the 1960s-era building is in poor condition and needs to be updated through a long-overdue renovation.

His claim is supported by the words of tenants themselves.

Earlier this year, for the Alameda rent survey, Action Alameda News acquired, through a public records request, copies of complaints submitted by tenants to the Rent Review Advisory Committee, from January 1st, 2015, to mid-September.

Among those complaints are 15 submitted against the former owner by tenants of 470 Central Avenue.

In May, one tenant wrote, “It has mold, window not good, some are not working, bathroom is no good, very old, sink is no good need to change.”

Also in May, another tenant wrote that the toilet, sink and bathtub were all leaking water.

Yet another tenant reported that carpet in their unit hadn’t been replaced since 1992. Multiple tenants reported mold or mildew and rated maintenance of the building as “poor.”

The landlord’s notice to the tenants offered relocation assistance to tenants who vacated prior to the early January date on the 60-day notice, and Matt Sridahr previously emphasized to Action Alameda News his willingness to mediate with tenants regarding the notices.

However, the ordinance passed by council last night aims to provide a legal defense against eviction proceedings to tenants who don’t vacate, by annulling the notices.

City Council chambers was at capacity last night, due in part to consideration of the just-cause eviction ordinance, and in part to consideration of an un-related Park Street development project.

Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri stationed four officers in City Hall last night, and the fire marshal was present to help manage any crowds, but there were no incidents of violence as at the November 4th meeting.

Alameda Renters Coalition leader John Klein addressed council from the speaker’s podium, and the coalition provided a stack of printed handouts on the table outside of council chambers.

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