Vote Cements Loophole for Alameda Landlords

Vote Cements Loophole for Alameda Landlords


Proof of their bias against renters lies in the fact that the mayor and City Council know about the Fixed-term Lease (FTL) loophole in the rent ordinance they passed in February and have not corrected this “oversight.”

The FTL loophole was pointed out to a city attorney by the mayor at the Feb. 16 council meeting where Councilman James Oddie famously threw up his hands and got red in the face as the FTL loophole was discussed around 2 a.m. on June 18. 

Mayor Trish Spencer said that if a landlord could get a tenant to sign a fixed-term lease — a lease with no evergreen clause — the tenant could be forced to leave at the end of the lease. Relocation costs wouldn’t apply because, technically, it would not be an eviction. Residential leases used to come with an evergreen clause providing for automatic renewal or extension or reversion to month-to-month.

At the March 1 meeting this flawed ordinance was passed with no changes. As she cast her vote, the mayor again acknowledged the FTL loophole, muttering, “If it becomes a problem we can fix it later.” Within minutes of their vote I had received an e-mail from my landlord requiring me to sign a fixed-term lease.

Five months have passed, and nothing has been done, even though I complained about the FTL loophole to the mayor, the city attorney and City Council in a lengthy e-mail where I offered text that would close the loophole. I further complained about it at one of the city’s training workshops where the same city attorney from the Jan. 17 and 18 meetings once again acknowledged the existence of FTL loophole.

The fixed-term Lease loophole favors landlords and seriously harms renters. City management knows about it, knows how to fix it and has failed to remove it — proof they don’t care about renters. 

Now they’re considering making this same flawed ordinance, City Code 3148, a charter amendment, cementing into place the pro-landlord, anti-tenant FTL loophole.

Need a better reason to vote for the Renter Coalition’s Charter Amendment?



Monty J Heying has lived in Alameda for 16 years.