Petition prevents temporary rent cap in Pacifica

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A CAA-backed petition bearing the signatures of over 3,500 Pacifica voters has prevented a temporary rent control measure from taking effect this month.

The petition, submitted to the city clerk Monday, seeks to repeal an interim ordinance that would have implemented rent and eviction controls from May 24 until November 2017.

The City Council approved the interim ordinance in April, hoping to curtail rent increases leading up to the November election, which will include a ballot measure on permanent rent control.

The grass-roots effort for a referendum on the interim ordinance included volunteer work and other resources from the California Apartment Association’s Tri-County office, as well as the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and the Coalition of Housing Equality.

The San Mateo County Registrar of Voters has 30 days to certify the petition. At that point, the City Council must either rescind the interim ordinance or place it on the ballot. In the meantime, the temporary rent control and just-cause eviction measure passed by the City Council in April will remain on hold.

If the council ultimately places the interim ordinance before voters, it is conceivable that both the permanent rent control ordinance and the temporary rent control measure could appear on the same ballot.

Efforts to approve a stopgap tenant protection measure did not end with Monday’s submission of signatures. The next day, the council held a special meeting to consider immediately implementing a system for mediating rent disputes until the Nov. 7 election. While CAA opposes policies such as binding arbitration, which amounts to rent control, the association is open to discussing non-binding programs to resolve issues between rental property owners and tenants.

“This would allow for both parties to understand each other’s challenges on maintaining rising operational costs and living expenses,” said Rhovy Lyn Antonio, vice president of public affairs. “Having an open and sensible communication might lead to both sides agreeing on a win-win solution.”

Mayor Pro Tem John Keener, however, sternly criticized mediation and held firm against any form of renter relief shy of rent control. Unable to reach consensus, the council did not adopt any interim tenant protections.

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Tagged: Tri-County

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