Councilman Attempts to Adjust Rent Ordinance

 

Councilman Tony Daysog was one of three signers of a petition for a ballot measure filed with the City Clerk on March 31 that would amend the city’s Rent Stabilization and Tenant Protection Ordinance.

The petition, signed by Daysog, Maria Dominguez and James Smallman, indicates that the purpose is “to limit relocation fees to extremely low-income, very low-income, low-income or moderate-income tenants, change the relocation fee formula, and exempt small ‘mom and pop’ landlords who reside in the City of Alameda from relocation fee requirement for specific instances when moving-in family members.”

At the heart of the issue is Daysog feels small homeowners, especially those who live in Alameda, should not be penalized at the same rate as big realty corporations or landlords on relocation fees if they are evicting tenants for special circumstances. 

With the current ordinance in place, an Alameda homeowner of a single-family residence who has a one-bedroom accessory unit in the backyard that has been rented to the same unrelated person for at least four years will have to pay $10,300 in relocation fees for “no cause” evictions. An Alameda homeowner would have to pay $19,500 in relocation fees if the tenant of four years or more is removed from a three-bedroom occupancy for a “no cause” eviction. No cause evictions are when a tenant is evicted for any reason other than lack of paying rent in a timely matter, destruction of property, arrest or any other violation of the tenant/landlord agreement. 

Under the proposed measure, renters who have lived in a unit for two or more years would receive relocation payments up to two months’ rent plus $1,500; and be limited to extremely low-income to moderate-income households. Tenants evicted by a landlord who resides in Alameda or is returning to live on the island, would be exempt from the fees if the purpose of the eviction is to replace tenants with family members or a licensed caretaker.

The Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC) takes exception to a relocation benefit exemption for “mom-and-pop” property owners who own 4,648 or 28 percent of Alameda’s rental housing (“Renters Start Petition for Ballot Measure” March 31).

“An exemption for these landlords will create a large separate group of tenants deprived of benefits available to other tenants,” ARC stated in the commentary. “This outcome would have the opposite effect of a tenant protection.”

The city clerk’s office has two weeks to approve Daysog’s petition and issue a title and summary.