by Lynda Carson
Richmond — On Tuesday, June 23, the Richmond City Council directed a draft ordinance to be prepared by city staff for presentation to the City Council during its July meeting in the effort to establish long overdue just cause eviction protections and rent control.
Tuesday evening’s council vote was 4 to 2. Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmember Vinay Pimple voted against the motion and Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez, Jovanka Beckles, Jael Myrick and Gayle McLaughlin voted in favor of the motion, with Councilmember Nat Bates declining to vote.
The vote in support of just cause eviction protections and rent control was the culmination of a yearlong effort to fight back against gentrification, greedy landlords and real estate profiteers targeting renters with huge rent increases and 30-day no cause evictions. According to Real Facts, rents in Richmond have increased on average by 24.3 percent during the four years ending last year, with an additional 10 percent increase occurring between the fourth quarters of 2013 and 2014.
A release from the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in Contra Costa County reports that during the past two months their members have identified a minimum of 100 Richmond renters who have had their rents jacked up by more than 5 percent. Richmond tenants Ana Garza and her husband have testified that during May last year their rent was $635 a month, and three months later in August the landlord jacked up the rent to $1,150 per month. With her husband making only $17 per hour as a construction worker and a 14-year-old son to support, Ana’s family has no choice but to look for a cheaper place to live as a direct result of a lack of renters protections currently in Richmond.
The vote in support of just cause eviction protections and rent control was the culmination of a yearlong effort to fight back against gentrification, greedy landlords and real estate profiteers targeting renters with huge rent increases and 30-day no cause evictions.
The struggle to establish long overdue just cause eviction protections and rent control in Richmond is being promoted by ACCE, the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) and Service Employees Union Local 1021. Just cause eviction protections and rent control already exist in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and other cities in California.
Richmond renters are being urged to unite and support their council members to establish the strongest just cause eviction protections and rent control possible in the struggle against gentrification, greedy landlords and real estate profiteers.
Richmond renters seeking legal assistance to fight back against evictions can call the Eviction Defense Center in Oakland at 510-452-4541 or Bay Area Legal Aid in Richmond at 510-250-5270 or 925-219-3325. Renters can also unite with the California group Tenants Together in the struggle to advance renters rights, at 415-495-8100.
Lynda Carson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.