Posted on November 21, 2015
On Monday, Nov. 16, members of the Alameda Renters Coalition, tenant representatives from 470 Central, and attorneys with Tenants Together met with Alameda city staff to discuss the components of a fair and functional rent and just cause ordinance.
Here are elements that ARC presented at that meeting which the Coalition believes must be included in any ordinances adopted by the city council:
1) Just Cause Eviction – clearly articulated and covering all apartments, single-family homes, and condominiums.
Fault or For Cause
Failure to Pay Rent
Breach of Lease
Failure to Give Access
No Fault Evictions
Notice to Vacate
(demolition or health and safety closure)
2) Rent increases tied to a relevant measure of inflation, specifically 65% of the Consumer Price Index with a cap of 4% in any given year. This should apply to all rental units not specifically exempted by state law (e.g. single family homes) from 2-unit rental properties to larger buildings and complexes.
3) An elected Rent Board.
4) Relocation payments for No Fault Evictions that are rationally related to the true costs of relocating.
5) Written notice to all new tenants of their tenant rights when they move into a new unit.
6) All rent increase and eviction notices must be filed with the Housing Authority (or Rent Board).
7) Security deposits must be kept in a separate interest bearing account and returned with interest to tenants at the end of their tenancy if no lawful deduction has been made.
8) Attorney fees may be recovered by tenants if there is a violation of the ordinance. This is the standard in other rent ordinances throughout the state.
During the meeting with city staff, there was serious discussion regarding the Capital Improvement exemption exploited by the owners of the Bayview Apartments at 470 Central Avenue. City staff seemed responsive to the need to close this loophole.
The Alameda Renters Coalition seeks the passage of a rent ordinance in order to stabilize our community and stop displacement through protections fair to both renters and landlords. Having measured, predictable rent increases based on a rational relevant measure like inflation is only one benefit. Among others, community stability brings stable school enrollments, which contribute to strong test scores. Seeing that more than half of Alamedans are renters, the effect of having stable rents will put more money back into the local economy and local small businesses.
The Alameda Renters Coalition looks forward to continuing our work with city officials to create an ordinance that reflects the values of our community by protecting the families that make our town a wonderful place to live.
Catherine Pauling (510) 220-2030
Alameda Renters Coalition is a group of Alameda city residents who recognize housing as a basic need and seeks to bring housing stability to our community.