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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | Peninsula | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Renter protections are on the ballot for 6 cities in November
No matter how hard the landlords and the California Apartment Association are trying to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections during the upcoming November elections in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View. The activists are urging people to vote against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the City Council in Alameda, and Mountain View!
Renter protections are on the ballot for 6 cities in November
By Lynda Carson -- August 10, 2016
Oakland - Renter protections are on the ballot for voters to vote on this coming November in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View, with rent control being discussed in Concord according to the East Bay Times, and the City of Santa Rosa.
On August 8, the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), tenants and other community members rallied to protest against no-cause evictions, and evictions at the Bay View Apartments in Alameda.
ARC has recently collected enough signatures for a ballot measure that voters can vote on in November, to offer the renters in Alameda rent control protections and just cause eviction protections. However, the Alameda City Council has voted to place their own watered down version of renter protections that do not protect the renters from high rent increases or no-cause evictions, as a way to confuse the voters, according to ARC. Activists are urging the renters in Alameda to vote for real rent control and just cause eviction protections in Alameda next November, and they are telling voters to vote against the watered down version of renter protections being promoted by city officials, according to an August 9, KPFA news story.
Additionally, according to Tenants Together, a statewide tenant’s organization, the displacement of Filipino communities is taking place in Alameda, at the Bay View Apartments.
In a press release from Tenants Together it said: ‘Bay View Apartments’ renters, mainly Filipino families with children, are fighting eviction and displacement by their landlord Matt Sridhar, CEO of San Jose-based Sridhar Equities, LLC., and a member of the California Apartment Association (CAA) and East Bay Rental Housing Association. The CAA has not condemned the mass evictions of these families with children.”
“Tenants in Bay View Apartments are fighting retaliatory evictions from their landlord Matt Sridhar, and calling on the City to let Alamedans vote on tenant protections in the Alameda Renters Coalition ballot measure, instead of causing confusion by putting the city-crafted ordinance on the ballot. The city-crafted measure would be the same as the The City of Alameda Rent Review and Limitations on Evictions Ordinance which went into effect on March 1st, 2016. Under this ordinance the Bay View Apartments tenants are being evicted. The ordinance is not protecting tenants from unfair evictions and allows landlords to create a climate of fear and intimidation. The ordinance allows 25% of tenants in a year to be evicted through no fault of their own, and if a landlord wants to empty the building, the tenants who remain are pressured and harassed into leaving.”
“On Monday May 8th the Alameda City Council will be voting whether or not to put the ineffective measure they passed this spring on the ballot in November 2016, which would undermine the rent control measure the Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC) have already put on the ballot. ARC volunteers collected over 8000 signatures in a grassroots effort to put strong tenant protections to a vote.”
“Tenants Together and the Alameda Renters Coalition are calling on the city to vote no on putting their ordinance on the ballot. Having two competing measures on rent regulations would cause unnecessary confusion. Even worse, if the city ordinance is voted into law, evictions like those of the tenants at Bay View Apartments would continue.”
As the tenant activists and their supporters gather momentum to pass renter protections in November, in recent months tenant advocates including Richmond City Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin of the renters organization called Fair and Affordable Richmond said, “Fair and Affordable Richmond” kicked off a signature gathering campaign to place a Rent Control and Just Cause Eviction Protection ballot measure http://tinyurl.com/h7o2lxe on the November ballot.
The Coalition had until June to gather 4,198 signatures to place the measure on the November ballot, and have been successful in their efforts.
”Rent increases have reached a crisis level and we are doing something about it in Richmond,” said Richmond Councilwoman Gayle Mclaughlin.
“We welcome volunteers to join us gathering signatures for a ballot measure in November to stabilize rents and stop the displacement that occurs from skyrocketing rents,” she said.
The average monthly rent in Richmond is $1,172, and the rents just keep getting higher, and higher.
“A recent poll commissioned by Fair and Affordable Richmond shows that nearly two-thirds of voters would vote today to enact rent control and just cause eviction protections,” according to the coalition. “Richmond voters understood that similar limits on evictions and unreasonable rent increases have helped to prevent thousands of middle-class and low-income people from losing their homes, making communities safer and more stable for everyone, and they think the City of Richmond should have such protections.”
Meanwhile, the California Apartment Association (CAA) is doing everything possible to sabotage the renters movement in the effort to keep tenants from having any renter protections, and the California Apartment Association (CAA) is stalking the tenant’s movement every step of the way.
In Alameda, the landlords and the CAA failed to collect enough signatures for their own ballot measure that was meant to ban renter protections in that city, according to a recent article.
As recent as June 17, 2016, in San Jose rental property owners can only raise rents on rent-controlled units by 5% per year, which is still way to high. The lowered rent cap is one of a few recent changes to the city’s 40-year-old rent control law in San Jose. Rent increases that take effect on or after June 17, for units under the San Jose Rent Control Ordinance, cannot exceed 5% unless an owner or agent files for a petition with the city to pass-through capital improvements or debt service before Sept. 1, 2016.
Like Alameda, in Mountain View on August 9, the City Councilmembers who are in the pocket of landlords and the CAA just voted to have their own watered down version of renter protections on the ballot for next November. This is their way to confuse the voters and to convince them to vote against a citizen-backed rent control initiative/measure that is already on the ballot for November.
No matter how hard the landlords and the CAA are trying to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections during the upcoming November elections in the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View. The activists are urging people to vote against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the City Council in Alameda, and Mountain View.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com