Council Adopts Urgency Ordinance Prohibiting Rent Increases over 8%
and No Cause Evictions for 65 Days
At a November 4 special meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to adopt an urgency ordinance prohibiting residential rent increases over 8% and no cause evictions. The ordinance is effective immediately and the moratorium on rent increases over 8% and no cause evictions will be in place for 65 days. The moratorium provides time for City staff to prepare legislation for the Council’s consideration in January.
On a 5-0 vote, the City Council put in place a 65-day cap on rent increases. During this period, rents in multifamily buildings built before 1995 cannot be increased more than 8%. The cap on rent increases is cumulative and takes into account rent increases imposed within the last 12 months. In addition, actions to terminate a tenancy, such as evictions, have been limited to for cause only (non-payment of rent, illegal activity, etc.) for the next 65 days.
Council members stressed the importance of tenants’ need for stability and predictability while the new legislation is prepared and a recognition that a majority of property owners are fair and reasonable in their dealings with their tenants. Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer stated that Council’s action was an important first step in addressing excessive rent increases and no cause evictions that some Alameda tenants are experiencing.
The City Council called the special meeting to provide an opportunity for tenants and landlords to talk about the impacts of Alameda’s tight rental market. The Council was presented with a range of options it could pursue to provide enhanced tenant protections. City Council gave staff direction to return with an analysis of measures to further strengthen the City’s existing rent review process; prohibit no cause evictions; and require relocation benefits for tenants who are evicted through no fault of their own. A copy of the urgency ordinance can be found at http://alamedaca.gov/sites/default/files/document-files/article-files/ordinance_3140.pdf..
This is an important issue for the Alameda community and the overwhelming majority of the public and speakers at the City Council meeting were impassioned and respectful. However, there were two unruly members of the public, one of whom pushed an Assistant City Manager to the ground, sending him to the hospital with a broken hip. Both were detained by police officers.
City staff will continue community engagement on all sides of the issue to find solutions to this critical issue in Alameda.
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