Comparing Rent Measures on Ballot

Comparing Rent Measures on Ballot


With the Nov. 8 election date approaching, more information is coming out about Alameda’s most talked about issue. The two rent ordinances that are up for vote at the election appear to have a lot more differences than similarities. 

The city’s ordinance does not establish a base rent. ARC’s amendment will roll back all rent to the level it was on May 5, 2015. In the area of annual rent increases, the city’s ordinance stipulates that rent increases are limited to once a year with no cap on the annual rent increase percentage; however, landlords who increase rents by more than five percent are required to have the Rent Review Advisory Committee review the matter. The charter amendment stipulates that the annual allowable rent increase is limited to 65 percent of the Consumer Price Index (this formula would allow for a 1.7 percent increase this year).

The city’s ordinance allows “no-cause” evictions, but limits the number of units for a “no-cause” eviction in a year. Also the rent for a unit after a “no-cause” eviction can only increase by five percent. The ARC ordinance prohibits “no-cause” evictions.

The city’s ordinance requires landlords to pay up to four month’s rent, plus $1,500 in moving expenses, for “no-fault” evicted tenants. The ARC asks that a tenant is given $7,300 for “no-fault” evictions if the tenant has lived in the unit for less than three years (15,000 if the tenant is disabled, 62 years old or over, or has a child) and $9,650 if the tenant has lived in the unit for more than three years ($18,500 if tenant has lived for more than three years and has a child, over 62 years old or is disabled). 

A “no-cause” eviction is an eviction where there is no substantial reason for evicting the tenant. A “no-fault” eviction is when there is a substantial reason (i.e. building renovation to bring building up to code) that is not the tenant’s fault. 

If the city’s ordinance passes, it will keep the existing program in place and keep the review committee in place. The council will provide oversight and a program administrator will run the day-to-day operations of the review committee. The renters-backed amendment will elect a rent control board, autonomous from the City Council. 

The two ordinances share one similarity. They both have similar definitions for what would be deemed a proper “no-fault” eviction. Both ordinances allows “no-fault” evictions due to owner’s moving into a unit, moving tenants out to bring property into compliance with codes affecting health and safety and the withdrawal of unit from rental market. The city’s Rent Review, Rent Stabilization and Limitations on Evictions Ordinance has been adopted by the city since March. It was placed on the ballot in July. The Alameda Renter’s Coalition’s (ARC) initiative, the Renter Protection and Community Stabilization Charter Amendment was officially placed on the ballot in July.