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City Council to Vote on Enduring Rent Control Ordinance Tomorrow

Tenant activists outside Mayor Trish Spencer's house on Valentines Day, 2016. (Twitter)

Tenant activists outside Mayor Trish Spencer’s house on Valentines Day, 2016. (Twitter)

Alameda City Council will vote on an enduring rent control ordinance tomorrow night, one that tenant activists have been deriding on social media as a “landlord protection ordinance.”

According to a press release from the City of Alameda last week, the ordinance doesn’t set a cap on rent increases, but, instead, sets a 5 percent threshold above which landlords will be required to initiate a rent mediation process.

If mediation fails, the ordinance provides for a hearing with a binding resolution through the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee. The binding resolution would not apply to rental units built before February 1st, 1995, in accordance with state law.

The ordinance also limits “no cause” evictions, and requires landlords pay relocation assistance for “no cause” and “no fault” evictions, such as a lease termination to enable the move-in of a family member.

The city’s press release summarized provisions of the ordinance:

  • Requirement for landlords to offer a one-year lease to new tenants and, if rent is increased, to existing tenants;
  • Limit rent increases to no more than one per year;
  • No cause evictions permitted with limitations;
  • Tenant relocation assistance for certain types of evictions;
  • Preparation and approval of a Capital Improvement Plan prior to evicting tenants for substantial rehabilitation;
  • Monetary penalties and enforcement; and
  • An annual review of the ordinance and a sunset provision.

But local tenants affiliated with the Alameda Renters Coalition have denounced the ordinance as providing insufficient protections for renters, taking to social media to tweet pictures of protests outside of the homes of the mayor and other council members.

Anticipating a large crowd, city officials have booked the Kofman Auditorium at Alameda High School for tomorrow’s meeting, which starts at 7:00 p.m.

6 comments to City Council to Vote on Enduring Rent Control Ordinance Tomorrow

  • AJ

    Don’t forget that this rent control ordinance will add more bureaucracy and expense to Alameda’s limited budget. It will cost about $2 million per year and add 5-6 new city staffing positions. Yay regulations!

  • Michele Neill

    I urge your NO VOTE on the proposed rent ordinance pending before the council on February 16th. I am a home owner in Alameda. I have owned and lived in my house for over 40 years. The rent ordinance takes the renter rights too far and impinges upon my rights as a home owner. Renters rights have been served by the limitations on rent increases and have been further protected by the rent review board. Only a small number of landlords have perpetrated this crisis. There are still many landlords that treat their tenants with the dignity and respect that they deserve. The existing protections serve to restrict those unscrupulous landlords and protect renters.

    Asking an individual homeowner to pay exorbitant fees to discontinue their tenant/owner relationship places and undue burden on landlords. In some cases an individual homeowner would be required to pay their singular tenant in excess of $10,000 dollars in order to vacate the premises in order to sell their home.

    Additionally the projected 1.94 million dollars that would be required to enforce this ordinance that serves are few and penalizes the rest of us could be better spent.

    I would further request that the mayor and any council members that are currently renters recuse themselves from voting on this issue as there is a conflict of interest in which they would personally profit from the adoption of this ordinance

  • TW

    Still wondering why renters get to pass laws about stuff other people own. However, with this ordinance the city has just declared all landlords in town to be low income housing providers. Result for me as a LL owning a duplex in a 125 old but fully refurbished victorian: zero incentive to keep rents below market (If I give my tenants a break then on top of that I’ll have to buy them out eventually). Because I will keep my rents high, there will be more turnover. No more evergreen leases, only fixed-term leases going forward. If this gets tightened further, by the council or by ballot, then I’ll take my property off the rental market, sell it as a single family home and invest elsewhere.

  • TW

    This is an ordinance aimed at keeping renters in their homes. So lets assume that half of the renters (probably a very conservative figure) desire to stay in this rent controlled environment and will eventually receive a notice to vacate (sale of building, owner move-in, getting out of LL business). That means that the council has just decreed that roughly 4% of the rental income of properties falling under this ordinance is to be transferred from property owners to renters. Can someone calculate how many millions that is please? On top of that totally indiscriminately, i.e. wether the individual renter needs it or not. Congratulations Alameda, you just got shafted.

  • Michele Neill

    This city is being run by the lowest common denominator. The only rationale council member is Frank Materasse. The mayor should not vote as she personally benefits from this regulation since she rents.

  • Some landlords have been working with a local attorney on the question of conflict of interest on the part of council members that are tenants.

    http://www.action-alameda-news.com/2016/01/06/local-landlords-open-procedural-front-against-rent-control-ordinance/

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