“With the addition of 65 Ocean, my community feels under siege as if it has a target on its back,” says Gilbert Williams, a carpenter and life-long resident of the Excelsior.
Repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act by passing Assembly Bill 1506 would go a long way toward strengthening rent control, limiting rent increases and once again allowing cities to regulate the rental rates on rental housing units that have been voluntarily vacated. Passage of AB 1506 would help in the effort to stabilize communities and challenge price gouging by unscrupulous landlords throughout California.
It has been another victory for rent control, just cause eviction protections, and the voters and renters of Richmond. The California Apartment Association retaliated with a lawsuit against the City of Richmond after the voters and renters approved Measure L last November in a landslide victory. 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.”
Renter protections will be on the November ballot in six cities in the Bay Area. No matter how hard the landlords and the California Apartment Association try to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections in Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo and Mountain View. They urge people to vote “no” against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the city councils in Alameda and Mountain View.
On Sept. 13, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmembers Nat Bates and Vinay Pimplé blocked a proposed 45-day “urgency” moratorium on rent increases and no-cause evictions. Before Mayor Tom Butt voted “no” to block the moratorium, he failed to disclose to the residents at the Sept. 13 City Council meeting that he has been accepting political contributions from the California Apartment Association, an organization representing the interests of landlords, not tenants.
On March 3, the same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the “Renters Upgrade,” the California Apartment Association (CAA) announced that they were keeping an eye on things and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenant’s movement efforts somehow, including in Richmond and Alameda.
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition, a group uniting renters, homeowners, organizations, local elected officials, local community activists and labor, filed a proposed ballot measure to protect Richmond’s tenants against unjust evictions and unfair rent increases. The Richmond City Clerk has 15 days to write a title and summary for the initiative. The coalition will have until June to gather 4,198 signatures to place the measure on the November ballot.
According to Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin, on Oct. 5, Contra Costa County began counting signatures from the petition that blocked renter protections in Richmond from taking effect on Sept. 4, 2015. When the petition was turned in Sept. 3, the California Apartment Association (CAA) announced that they were behind it. Now people in Richmond are anxiously waiting to find out if enough valid signatures were turned in.
Now that the California Apartment Association (CAA) has blocked the implementation of renters’ protections, including rent control and just cause eviction protections, in Richmond, thousands of renters are at risk of being severely exploited with massive rent increases. Additionally, thousands more are now at risk of displacement and homelessness due to no-cause evictions.