Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Alameda renters group opposes city's proposed ordinances on rents, evictions

Members of the Alameda Renters Coalition
protesting rising rents last year.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Ahead of Tuesday night much-anticipated Alameda City Council debate over possibly enacting new restrictions on rent increases and evictions, the Alameda Renters Coalition, a local group that has driven the issue over the past year, says it will oppose all three potential ordinances being offered.

“The Alameda Renters Coalition finds that none of the options presented to the council offer substantive protections to renters, and asks that until significant alterations are made to these proposals, the current moratorium remain in effect,” the group said in a statement late Monday night.

The city council will be presented with three separate ordinances at the meeting moved to nearby Kofman Auditorium to facilitate an expected large number of residents. If none of the choices are satisfactory to the council, it could also extend the existing 65-day moratorium on rent increases over eight percent and evictions by another 60 days, says the staff report.

Also: Alameda City Council's decision on rent ordinances could be pivot point for issue

At issue for the renters' group is an allowance in each of the three proposed ordinances for rent increases up to eight percent and the lack of several other protections for renters. Instead, the coalition wants the cap tied to 65 percent of the annual Consumer Price Index, in addition, to eliminating no-cause evictions.

“The proposed limit of an eight percent rent increase per annum far exceeds a reasonable rate,” the renters coalition said. Proposals including using an outside arbitrator to remedy rent disputes, the group says, is unclear to the role of the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee.

The coalition also wants requirements for landlords to contribute rental information, including the number of units, amount of rent increases and evictions to a citywide database. None of the three ordinances clearly include such a provision. “Reporting is only required when a landlord petitions for a higher than the ‘maximum’ allowed rent increase,” they argue. “Without this data, the council cannot truly see the rental crisis.”

The renters coalition’s opposition to the city’s proposal ordinances also signals, regardless of Tuesday night's outcome, they will likely seek a petition to place the issue of rent control before Alameda voters in November. And they won't be alone.

Richmond voters will also decide next fall whether to reinstate a rent control ordinance passed last summer by the Richmond City Council, but subsequently repealed in a petition campaign funded by statewide apartment owners group.


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