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Another victory for Richmond rent control against the California Apartment Association

February 17, 2017

by Lynda Carson

All over the country, as housing prices soar, people are demanding rent control. This is a rally in Albany, N.Y. – Photo: Bebeto Matthews, AP

Richmond – It has been another victory for rent control, just cause eviction protections, and the voters and renters of Richmond against the notorious meddling of the California Apartment Association (CAA). The CAA retaliated with a lawsuit against the City of Richmond after the voters and renters approved Measure L last November in a landslide victory.

The CAA and its wealthy landlord backers did not respect the will of the people and retaliated against the voters and the city by filing for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction against Measure L, in an effort to keep the renter protections from remaining in effect. The renter protections went into effect on Dec. 30, 2016.

It has been another victory for rent control, just cause eviction protections, and the voters and renters of Richmond against the notorious meddling of the California Apartment Association (CAA).

In response to the shenanigans of the CAA and its notorious meddling in the affairs of Richmond’s voters and renters, in a ruling filed on Feb. 14, Judge Judith S. Craddick of Contra Costa County wrote, “The California Apartment Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”

On behalf of the landlords the CAA is the plaintiff in this case that is known as California Apartment Association vs. City of Richmond. The City of Richmond argued in court that plaintiff CAA must show that they would be irreparably harmed if the preliminary injunction was not granted.

In its Feb. 14 ruling, the court finds that CAA has not met its burden for that reason denied the plaintiff’s motion. After losing its motion for a TRO and a preliminary injunction, the CAA is now is seeking a permanent injunction to stop Measure L from remaining in effect. A hearing is set for March 3, 2017, at 9 a.m. in Department 9 at the courthouse in Martinez for the parties involved in the case.

In a ruling filed on Feb. 14, Judge Judith S. Craddick of Contra Costa County wrote, “The California Apartment Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”

“I’m delighted that the judge ruled against the CAA’s motion for a preliminary injunction,” Richmond Councilmember and former mayor Gayle McLaughlin said. “This is another victory for the voters of Richmond who passed Measure L with a two-thirds vote, understanding the importance of protecting Richmond tenants and stabilizing our neighborhoods with this sound, constitutional ordinance.”

The Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition

A release from the Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition, a united group of organizations and renters that brought Measure L to the voters, states: “The California Apartment Association (CAA) has fought the establishment of Rent Control and Just Cause eviction protection since 2015. After the CAA paid for the collection of enough signatures to force the Richmond City Council to repeal their Rent Control Ordinance, local community groups, labor unions and faith organizations came together to put Measure L on the November 2016 ballot. Measure L passed with 65 percent support, but the CAA filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the implementation of Measure L in Richmond. On Monday, Hon. Judge Craddick denied the injunction, allowing for the implementation of Measure L to continue.”

“For years, we’ve been fighting alongside Richmond residents, organizations and landlords to protect residents from unfair rent increases, evictions and substandard living conditions. While gentrification and displacement are still ongoing issues, the court’s ruling today affirms the public’s will for renter’s protections,” said Asian Pacific Environmental Network organizer Ratha Lai.

“The City of Richmond will now continue the process of establishing the Rent Board, which will oversee the Rent Control and Just Cause eviction protections system. This board will be vital to the success of Richmond’s Rent Control, and the members of the Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition, who qualified Measure L for the ballot, are anxious to see the board established and begin regulating.”

“It is time to move forward and create the Rent Control Board Richmond voters voted to put in place. We cannot allow for renters to continue to be illegally evicted by real estate speculators who are taking advantage of the lack of an established Rent Control system,” explains Tenants Together attorney Leah Simon-Weisberg.

“The City of Richmond will now continue the process of establishing the Rent Board, which will oversee the Rent Control and Just Cause eviction protections system.”

According to some local attorneys familiar with the case, they claim that Leah Simon-Weisberg did a great job as the author of Measure L, saying that it was based on existing law in other cities with rent control and just cause eviction protections. On the Berkeley ballot, Simon-Weisberg was the top vote-getter in November for the Rent Stabilization Board Commission.

The Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition is made up of Tenants Together, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Richmond Progressive Alliance, SEIU 1021, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, AFSCME Local 3299 and the California Nurses Association.

The California Apartment Association wealthy landlords has been meddling in the affairs of many other cities in California where renters have been pushing for modest renter protections, including Alameda, Santa Rosa, Mountain View, Healdsburg, Lafayette, Pacifica, San Jose, San Mateo, Concord, Milpitas and Marin County.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule@yahoo.com.

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