Concord approves CAA-backed mediation program

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The Concord City Council this month adopted a rent-mediation program that was supported by the California Apartment Association.

The ordinance, approved during the May 2 council meeting, will give tenants the right to nonbinding mediation if they receive rent increases of more than 10 percent during a 12-month timeframe.

“We’re not trying to price people out of the marketplace so we just have a revolving door of people moving in and out of our community,” Councilman Tim McGallian said, as reported in the East Bay Times.  “But at the same time we understand you have to be able to make money in order to be able to support these housing units.”

The mediation proposal comes despite loud calls for rent control over the past 18 months. At the May 2 council meeting, tenant activists said the mediation program does not go far enough to protect renters and would waste city money. The program, however, will get its funding from rental property owners, who will pay a $16 annual fee for each unit.

Tenant advocates also objected to the threshold for triggering mediation, saying a 10 percent rent increase is too high. But owners and managers, who outnumbered tenant activists at the meeting, defended the 10 percent threshold and provided strong examples of the costs to provide clean, safe housing, as well as other rising expenses, such as utility rates.

The mediation program could take effect as early as July. Once that happens, the city will eliminate its rent-reporting hotline. Currently, tenants call the city to anonymously report how much apartment communities are raising rents.

Tagged: Contra Costa

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