Home Antioch Antioch City Council Set to Discuss Rent Stabilization Ordinance

Antioch City Council Set to Discuss Rent Stabilization Ordinance

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Antioch city Council will discuss a Rent Stabilization Ordinance where they will seek to set the rental rate increase limit.

The item comes before the council after several groups have been advocating for rent stabilization for the past six months–including a rally on June 22 for safe and affordable housing. This was in response to rent increases by Levy Affiliated LLC with increases between $200-$700/month.

Last week, the groups said they will urge the council to approve the following:

  • cap rent increases at 60% of CPI or 3%, whichever is less
  • ensure affordable housing and specifically LIHTC buildings are covered
  • implement the measure retroactively to January 2022
  • include a rent board and tenant appeal process, and to
  • immediately freeze rent to avoid retaliation by landlords

According to the Staff Report:

Although the City of Antioch’s housing prices are lower than many neighboring cities, rent in the City continues to rise. Many local residents, in particular low-income households, struggle with paying for rising housing costs and meeting other basic needs such as food, transportation and health care. The effect of high rents coupled with low incomes, critical shortages of affordable rental housing, and rapidly rising costs for other basic necessities leaves residents vulnerable to economic hardship, housing insecurity and displacement, threatening the public health, safety and welfare of a substantial number of City residents.

The Rent Stabilization Ordinance is intended to provide stability with respect to rent increases and housing by establishing additional tenant protections exceeding those set forth in State law. Many of the findings in the recitals of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which are found on the first three pages of the ordinance, are drawn from the City’s draft Housing Element and support the need for rent stabilization in the City as a means to address threats to public health, safety and welfare caused by cost burden, displacement, and eviction. In particular, the findings highlight the disproportionate risk and impacts borne by households headed by women, large family households, households in areas
identified as “Low Resource” or “High Segregation and Poverty,” and senior households

The staff report continued:

Cities in California can no longer adopt “full” rent control, which would regulate the amount of initial rent, due to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins” or Civil Code § 1954.50 et seq.). Costa-Hawkins is a state law that, except in very limited circumstances, prohibits local restrictions on the amount of rent a landlord can charge at the beginning of a tenancy. Rent control ordinances that existed in 1995 when Costa- Hawkins was adopted were grandfathered, and the result is that there are a handful of cities with full rent control on certain types and ages of units within those cities. Costa-Hawkins effectively prohibits new local “rent control,” so cities adopting local regulations after 1995 focus instead on “rent stabilization.” This type of regulation protects tenants during their tenancy by limiting how much the rent may be increased each year.

The Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (Civil Code § 1946.2 et seq.) enacted statewide rent stabilization. Beginning January 1, 2020, where applicable, rent may be annually increased no more than 5% plus the regional consumer price index (CPI) or 10%, whichever is less.

According to staff, The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins”) is a state law that, except in very limited circumstances, prohibits local restrictions on the amount of rent a landlord can charge at the beginning of a tenancy. For this reason, the City Council is pursuing a Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which regulates rent increases during a tenancy. Costa- Hawkins also significantly restricts which units may be subject to local rent stabilization.

During the July 26, 2022 Study Session, the City Council provided direction to staff to exclude owner-occupied duplexes and Low-Income Tax Credit Program-funded developments from the exemptions to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

This direction was implemented by using the narrower exemption of “A unit owned, operated, or managed by a governmental unit, agency, or authority, or that is specifically exempted from municipal Rent regulation by state or federal law or regulation” instead of a broader exemption used by some cities that includes all “affordable housing” subject to deed-restriction or agreement with a government agency, which would include Low-Income Tax Credit Program-funded developments. The Rent Stabilization Ordinance exemptions do not include any duplex.

The City Council also provided direction on enforcement of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, including a process for tenants to report or contest unlawful rent increases. The Draft Rent Stabilization Ordinance directs the City Manager to designate an office or department to provide information and receive tenant complaints pertaining to violation of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and the City Attorney to designate a hearing officer.

The ordinance will include both Tenant Rent Reduction Petition (rent reduction request) and a Landlord Fair Return Petition (rent increase in excess of rent stabilization ordinance).

Additional Enforcement Remedies
The Rent Stabilization Ordinance also allows tenants to bring an action to recover damages, which could include actual damages (the cost of the harm suffered) or two types of statutory damages: three times the difference between the amount of rent actually charged and the amount authorized to be charged or $1,000, whichever is greater. Persons or entities that may “fairly and adequately represent a protected class” may also bring a civil action for injunction under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

The Rent Stabilization Ordinance also includes a variety of enforcement remedies ranging from criminal prosecution—a declaration that is necessary for the City to utilize its authority to issue administrative citations—to a civil action for injunction by the City for injunctions to stop and prevent violations or for monetary damages.

Rent Program Fee and Registration Requirement

The Rent Stabilization Ordinance establishes a regulatory fee charged to landlords to fund the Rent Stabilization Ordinance program for the sole purpose of reimbursing the City for the costs of administering this Rent Stabilization Ordinance. The fee will be imposed on each rental unit and paid by landlords. Landlords subject to this Rent Stabilization Ordinance will be required to register all units subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance with the City and pay the Rent Program Fee at such time and in such manner as established by City Council resolution.

Antioch City Council Agenda
7:00 pm
200 H Street, Antioch CA
Full Agenda: Click Here

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1 comment

Bo Aug 24, 2022 - 3:50 am

Why would anyone be a landlord in these corrupt places, sell and get out while you can. Antioch has really turned into a welfare infested dump the last 20 years. All the leadership attracts is section 8/”low income” people aka state subsidized drug dealing. I hope all these “activists’ win. You want state landlordship and low funded ghettos and live in infested filthy government controlled apartments like the poorest eastern euros still do? I do hope you get your wish.

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