VIDEO: Debate over rent control nears resolution



ALAMEDA (KRON) — With soaring rental prices around the Bay Area, the sparring between tenants and landlords in the City of Alameda over rent control is nearing a resolution.

This November, voters in that city will decide between two competing measures. On Tuesday night, KRON4’s Philippe Djegal goes in-depth on both sides of the debate.

The debate has enraged both tenants and landlords.

At one point, the argument boiled over outside city council chambers in November during a special meeting, which Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese said resulted in the assault of a city employee who also broke a hip.

“This is an emotional issue because we’re talking about the roof over your head,” Matarrese said.

In March, the city council adopted the Rent Review, Rent Stabilization and Limitations on Evictions ordinance.

The city council has since put the measure, known as L-1, on the November ballot for voters to affirm.

Long-time city councilmember Tony Daysog said the measure does not include a cap on rent increases but limits increases to once a year.

And it requires mediation for all residential increases above 5 percent.

“And, I think people will see in L-1,” Daysog said, “that it’s basically taking that 40-year-old rent review process that we’ve had in place, but giving it the power of binding arbitration to establish reasonable rent increases.”

Rent increases, which in theory, Daysog says, would be mutually agreed upon by the tenant and their landlord.

“There have been 60 cases that have come before the rent review process, and of the 60 cases, none of them have hit double-digit rent increases. They’ve been on average 6 percent rent increase,” Daysog said.

And Catherine Pauling, with the Alameda Renters Coalition, says 6 percent is just too high.

“You can’t keep your head together without a roof over it,” Pauling said.

Pauling and her organization collected more than 7,400 signatures to put M-1 on the ballot.

A competing charter amendment, which if passed, can down the road only be amended by the vote of the people.

It would cap rent increases to about 2 percent a year and limits the reasons for terminating leases.

“M-1 actually is providing rent stabilization by tying rent increases to inflation, so it can be predictable and sustainable. M-1 will stop these no-cause evictions,” Pauling said.

Just keep in mind, that L-1, the city-sponsored measure, is current law.

The only way to amend it would be the passage of M-1.

“I do believe that the renter’s coalition M1 initiative is too rigid,” Daysog said.

“We don’t want to put landlords out of business, but we do need something that is predictable and sustainable, and tying it to inflation, 1 to 2 percent is actually what people are getting in their raises or in their cost of living expenses, so it is reasonable,” Pauling said.

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