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City Rent Control Ordinance Overtaken by Tenants Organization Filing

The City of Alameda is playing catch-up to fast moving events around rent control. (File photo)

The City of Alameda is playing catch-up to fast moving events around rent control. (File photo)

The City of Alameda published a press release yesterday announcing the adoption of an enduring rent control ordinance on March 1st, but in the intervening period, local tenants rights activists have made a media splash by filing their own intention to put tougher rules on the ballot this November.

Alameda City Council adopted the ordinance on March 1st, billed as a hybrid of other rent stabilization models that leverages the existing rent mediation model; the ordinance goes into effect at the end of this month.

The city’s ordinance sets a rent increase “trigger” of five percent at which property owners must initiate a rent mediation process through the City of Alameda’s Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC).

It also includes a requirement for a binding hearing if both parties to the mediation do not reach agreement.

In accordance with state law, the binding hearing would only apply to multi-family rental units built before February 1, 1995 (i.e single family homes are exempt).

If a rent increase is five percent or less, the ordinance requires landlords to notify tenants of the availability of the RRAC’s rent review process.

Limitations on landlord-initiated lease terminations, so-called “no cause evictions” and relocation assistance for displaced tenants apply to all rental units with limited exceptions.

But early last week, the Alameda Renters Coalition filed with the city clerk a notice of intent to circulate a petition to put a more stringent rent control ordinance on the ballot.

The tenants group’s ballot measure would limit rent increases to 65 percent of the annual increase in the local Consumer Price Index, and sharply increase re-location assistance amounts.

Because the tenants are proposing a city charter amendment, some 6,500 petition signatures, or roughly 15% of registered voters in Alameda, are required for their initiative to qualify.

The City of Alameda’s March 1st ordinance can be found at: https://alameda.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2574143&GUID=8252A82B-4489-43E8-A560-5BC9B29541B0&Options=&Search=&FullText=1

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