Dwight Tenants to Keep Rent Control
Because of the appeal of the Zoning Board ruling, tenants who lost almost everything in the 2012 fire at 2227 Dwight Way will be given relocation benefits and the units, once rebuilt, will remain under rent control. City Council voted to uphold the ZAB ruling, but “clarified” that previous tenants have the right to reoccupy the apartments at the previous rent-controlled rates. The units will remain under rent control, but if the old tenants don’t move back in, new rents can be set at market.
The appeal challenged the ZAB decision that the owners, the infamous Lakireddy family, would not have to pay the affordable housing mitigation fee. At issue was the possibility that the owners were at fault for the extend of the fire damage because smoke detectors and fire alarms may not have sounded, and the fire may have been caused by a faulty water heater.
Because of the appeal, the City Council also plans to clarify what constitutes “fault” when properties destroyed by fire are exempt from city fees like the affordable housing mitigation fee. In the appeal, it was suggested that city staff only looks for arson and does not consider negligence when determining fault.
Several BTU members wrote to the City Council in support of the appeal, and many tenant advocates spoke at the meeting.
According to Inside Bay Area, Council also voted to make rental housing inspection safety reports from the Dwight property public documents.