The Concord City Council on Tuesday set initial parameters for a strict rent control ordinance that would cap rent increases at a fraction of the inflation rate.

The council also is pursuing a “just cause” for eviction ordinance that could include single-family home rentals and take effect from the first day of tenancy.

In relation to the rent control ordinance, the council majority is looking at capping rent increases at either 3% or 60% of the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. Given the current CPI for Contra Costa County is at 4.2%, this could result in a rent cap of 2.5% for the current year.

Stricter than state law

The council’s proposals are stricter than California’s Tenant Protection Act of 2019, already considered the nation’s most robust statewide tenant protection law.

Mayor Laura Hoffmeister

Mayor Laura Hoffmeister urged caution in adopting such a low cap, noting that utility rates can rise substantially. Councilwoman Carlyn Obringer did not support the proposed cap.

Additional policies and opposition

Additionally, the City Council is considering a retroactive rent control policy that would roll rents back to January 2023 levels. The city manager warned that enforcing such a policy would be challenging. Both Mayor Hoffmeister and Councilmember Obringer opposed this proposal.

Other elements under consideration for the ordinances include:

  • Using a hearing officer instead of a rent board.
  • Raising relocation payment penalties to three months.
  • Directing staff to continue researching petition costs and limitations on substantial renovations.

These elements go beyond the regulations in California’s Tenant Protection Act, known as AB 1482, and move Concord closer to Richmond-style rent control.

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