Based on reports about the direction the Council decided to head in with regard to tenants protections, it may not be enough to dissuade the empowered Renters Coalition from placing their own measure on the ballot in November. Given Tony Daysog’s lukewarm support of stronger tenant protections, he should be worried that tenants will elect to take him out simultaneously, from the EBX:
Following a recess at 12:40 a.m., councilmembers discussed the proposals until 3:55 a.m., and then directed city staffers to bring back a rent ordinance in mid February that includes the following: Adding binding arbitration to settle rent disputes at the RRAC; requiring landlords to petition the RRAC for any rent increases of more than 5 percent; requiring landlords to offer one-year leases to tenants during their first year; relocation fees based on the length of tenancy, in addition, to $1,500 for moving expenses; and a yet-to-be determined cap on evictions.
It appears that the Council may have made a tactical error in continuing to try to hash out something at 3:00 a.m. as opposed to continuing the item, as they have done previously for much less important issues, and tackling it after much needed rest and allowing some of the testimony resonate. If the point was to head off a ballot measure which could put into place a much more tenant-centric rent stabilization ordinance then they failed.
And based on the result it’s clear the this Council didn’t make much improvement over the ordinances that were presented which was a result of their direction from the November meeting. As suggested by possible City Council candidate Malia Vella, the result was a terrible Frankenordinance. A cobbling together of pieces that result in a beast that didn’t seem to even address in any sort of detail one of the most important bits of tenant protections: evictions.
Essentially what this has done, as currently structured, has put nearly all the power into the hands of the RRAC. The RRAC, which has been so far inclined to negotiate to 10% rent hikes, will be the authority in which any housing provider could make a case for a greater than 5% increase. And, given the fact that some members of the Council have indicated that “elections have consequences” which therefore requires him to rubber stamp all of the Mayor’s nominations to any Board or Commission it is more important than ever that the City Council begin the exercise their duty to provide the check and balance to the Mayor’s nominations rather than endorse her every whim.
Right now, it’s unclear if this Council will even be able to come to an agreement on this newest set of directions. All the while extending a moratorium which still allows for less than 8% annual rent hikes. If the Council is still unable to come to a consensus it might be important for the Renters Coalition to push for no allowed rent increases and no evictions period which might light a bit of fire under the housing providers to be a bit more accommodating rather than the alternative which is some housing providers tearing up even at the suggestion of the most benign tenant protection ordinance that was offered up Tuesday night.