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Concord considers stronger protections for renters

The Concord City Council on Wednesday night will consider recommendations from a council committee for items that should be included in future rent control and tenant protection policies.

The Ad-Hoc Committee on Rental Housing – comprising Mayor Carlyn Obringer and Councilman Dominic Aliano — has made the following recommendations to the City Council:

  • modification of the city’s Residential Rent Review Program;
  • extending property owner notice requirement for rent increases; and
  • requiring property owners to offer leases of at least one year.

Obringer also supports requiring relocation assistance for tenants, and Aliano recommends establishing a “just cause” eviction ordinance.

The issue has been on the radar in Concord since mid-2016, when several public meetings about the need for rent stabilization and tenant protections – largely from the tenants’ point of view. In June 2017, the Concord City Council approved the Residential Rent Review Program to become part of city municipal code.

Nevertheless, community concern about raising rents has not let up since then. The roots of the problem extend far beyond Concord; the robust Bay Area economy since 2012 has created an overwhelming demand for housing regionally. New-home construction has not kept pace with demand, and that means rising home prices and higher rents.

This past January, the City Council established an Ad-Hoc Committee on Rental Housing, to discuss and review state and local requirements regarding tenant/landlord responsibilities, existing housing needs within Concord. The committee met several times with tenant advocates, property owners, technical experts and city staff engaged in rental housing issues to help identify possible solutions to this ongoing problem. And in May, more than 70 people addressed the committee at a community meeting. Concerns both of rental tenants and of property owners were expressed.

The goal is for any new ordinance that includes any of the above recommendations to be designed for “full cost recovery,” this minimizing costs, according to a city staff report.

Wednesday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1950 Parkside Drive.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Concord City Council meeting was scheduled for Tuesday. The text has since been corrected for accuracy.

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