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Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

June 1, 2016

By Darwin BondGraham : eastbayexpress – excerpt

City denies accusations as deadline looms.

It’s been nearly two months since the Oakland declared a 90-day moratorium on rent increases and evictions. But so far, the city’s leaders have yet to revise Oakland’s rental-housing laws. A tenants’ coalition, which includes influential labor unions and community organizations, has been pressuring the council and mayor since April to place a rent control and eviction protection reform measure on the November ballot. And now it’s getting political:

The tenant advocates have threatened to not support local politicians in future elections if they obstruct or advance renter protections.

Currently, Oakland’s just-cause ordinance only protects renters who live in apartments built before 1980. Tenant advocates want to extend these protections to all units built after 1980, or some 10,000 additional units.

And current rent-control rules put the burden on tenants to petition against illegal rent increases. Gabriel Haaland, a staff member of the union SEIU 1021 and member of the coalition, said Oakland needs to move to a system more like that in Berkeley, where the city tracks all rents in a database, and the burden is on landlords to petition if they want to increase rents above the annually permitted amount.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s spokeswoman Erica Derryck didn’t answer questions about whether Schaaf supports these changes. But Schaaf has said before that a landlord-petition system is a bad idea… (more)

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