Richmond: Rental ordinances under consideration

The Richmond City Council on Tuesday, July 21, will consider two courses of action that could have a dramatic affect on the way rental housing owners and managers do business in the city:

Voluntary Rent Mediation Board Ordinance

Rent Mediation Boards have demonstrated that a rent-review program can help reduce dislocation and distress for tenants without restricting landlords’ ability to achieve a fair return. This would involve:

  • Notice to tenants of availability of rent review
  • Rent Review requirements, i.e. number of units and rent thresholds
  • Professional third party mediation
  • Rent Board Hearing
  • Unresolved resolution – referred to city council
  • Annual review assessing cost and effectiveness

Rent Control/Just Cause

Rent Control/Just Cause limits or prohibits a “fair return” on a rental property owners’ investment while limiting and/or prohibiting the ability to remove nuisance tenants. This would call for:

  • Just cause to be applied to ALL rental units including single-family, condominiums and all subsidized housing i. e. Section 8
  • Controlled rents would only apply to rental units built prior to 1995 excluding single-family, condominiums and new developments which are protected under the California Costa Hawkins Act.
  • No unit size exemptions
  • Rent increases limited to 60% of the CPI
  • City Council to temporarily sit as the rent control board as a cost savings
  • Relocation payments of two months market rate rent plus $1000
  • Limit ability to pass through utility costs
  • Increased code enforcement staff
  • All fees related to the program are to be levied solely on the owners of rental property
  • Estimated Program cost:  $2.2M
  • Estimated rental units in the city 21,000 with approximately 10,000 rent controlled units= $1000 annual fee per unit