Richmond (Almost) Gets Rent Control
update 8/9/15: RICHMOND GOT PROTECTIONS!
“The ordinance, first voted on in July, has undergone several changes and required two readings before becoming law. It takes effect Sept. 4 but will base rents at their July 21 levels to prevent landlords from spiking prices. … Under the new law, landlords will only be able to increase rents by 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index, roughly 2 percent a year, and pass on 40 percent of the city-imposed fee to tenants. The fee is estimated to range between $170 and $230 a year per unit, or $14-$19 a month.
The ordinance applies to about 10,000 units in the city and excludes all housing built after Feb. 1, 1995, single-family homes, condominiums and units used for child and residential social services provided on a nonprofit basis. It also includes a just-cause for eviction ordinance that covers all rental units in the city and prevents residents from being evicted without a reason.”
The Contra-Costa times did an in-depth article about Richmond’s situation. Sadly, they have a lot of quotes from opponents of rent control and little from organizers in Richmond. BTU wasn’t contacted, even though this article highlights Berkeley’s strict rent control system, which many had hoped Richmond would use as a model.
Previous article: Richmond passed rent control and eviction laws in July, but the proposal failed to pass the required second reading this week.
With the new law, Richmond would become the first city in Contra Costa County to restrict rents. The program would be funded by a $370 per unit fee, much higher than the fee Berkeley landlords plan to challenge in court. However, some of the fee may be passed to Richmond renters.
Like Berkeley, Richmond plans to register and track rents. Richmond’s proposed law exempts tenancies assisted by the Housing Authority, including Section 8 rentals, as well as single family homes and post-1995 buildings, as required by state law.
“Proponents note that Richmond’s black population fell 35 percent from 2000 to 2013. The median rent rose 13 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, according to UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.”
“Rent increases will be pegged to 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index for the region, or roughly 2.3 percent a year.”
“The rent control ordinance, set to take effect on Dec. 1, applies to about 9,900 units out of almost 34,000 total rental units, according to City Manager Bill Lindsay. About half of the city’s housing stock is rental.”
“In a new twist, landlords will now be able to pass 40 percent of the associated fees on to their tenants. The fees would vary from $170 to $230 per unit per year, or $15 to $20 a month.”