Landlords in Concord rise up to oppose rent control

Dozens of property owners flood City Hall to argue against proposed regulation

Landlords in Concord Rise Up to Oppose Rent Control
East Bay Rental Housing Association's Derek Barnes and East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy's Kristi Laughlin with Concord City Hall (LinkedIn, Google Maps, Getty)

Landlords are raising opposition to a proposed rent control ordinance in Concord.

So many property owners flooded City Hall to argue against the city’s proposed rent control ordinance that the City Council postponed its decision until Feb. 13, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The proposed ordinance would limit rent hikes to either 60 percent of the change in the Consumer Price Index or 3 percent of current rates — whichever is lower. For a typical apartment in Concord renting at $2,449, a rent hike couldn’t exceed $73.

The ordinance also would require that landlords have “just cause” to evict a tenant.

Landlords would also have to provide protections — and sometimes compensation — for tenants in “no-fault evictions,” such as when the owner wants to move into the apartment or when the unit needs major renovations.

Tenant organizations in Concord have worked since at least 2016 to pass stronger protections for renters and keep them in their homes, according to the Mercury News.

But they’ve faced pushback from property owner associations opposing regulation. At the City Council meeting on Jan. 30, dozens of landlords turned out to fight rent control, while “several tenants” showed up to back it.

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Derek Barnes, CEO of the East Bay Rental Housing Association, said the rent caps in Concord’s ordinance are “arbitrary” and discourage small property owners from keeping their units on the rental market.

“Rent control and just cause create conditions that drive small owner operators out of the business and ultimately come back to hurt renters in the end,” Barnes told the Mercury News.

Tenant advocates, however, see rent control as a major step forward for a city where two in five homes are inhabited by renters.

“Over the years, tenants in Concord have faced exorbitant rent increases, unjust eviction practices and an escalating sense of housing instability,” Kristi Laughlin, deputy director of the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy in Contra Costa, told the newspaper.

“The Tenant Protection Ordinance represents a crucial tool that empowers us to confront these challenges directly, providing essential safeguards for our residents.”

If rent stabilization is approved in Concord, the East Bay city would follow rent control ordinances in Berkeley, Oakland and Richmond.

— Dana Bartholomew

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