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Indybay Feature
Thu May 19 2011
The Santa Cruz Rental Ordinance and You
Thu May 19 2011
Rental Inspections to Drive Up Rent in Santa Cruz
"Surf City Revolt!" writes: The rental ordinance, passed in August 2010 by a 5-1 vote, spells bad-news-bears for those of us renting in Santa Cruz. The rhetoric around the measure was mostly about cracking down on illegal units and rentals that don’t meet basic habitability standards. At first glance, this might seem like a step towards a safer and saner rental market in Santa Cruz. Will this finally be the end of uninsulated garages listed as studios (at $800 a month) or two-bedroom bungalows crawling with rats and mold (at $1400-1600)? Maybe it will, but it’s going to cost us.

The rental ordinance was part of a deal made between the City and the University in 2008. City officials have debated it for years, and only recently has it taken its final form. The city has been asking the university to house more students on campus for a long time. Understandably so, since the city is under pressure from homeowners who feel like college students and their parties are ruining their quiet Westside neighborhoods. The ordinance is a response to this pressure.

The rhetoric behind the rental ordinance is aimed at “illegal units” or rentals that don’t meet basic habitability standards. The ordinance calls for periodic inspections of rentals, to be paid for by the rental owners. Rental owners must correct code violations that are found, which may lead to displaced tenants. Even Mike Rotkin admits that this displacement is inevitable. Property owners are angry that they have to pay while some renters are afraid of getting thrown out of the only rentals that they can afford.

Read more | Surf City Revolt! | They Pledged Your Tuition: An Open Letter to UC Students
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