Berkeley City Council discussed the adoption of a ballot measure Tuesday that would amend the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance.
The recommendation was submitted by Matt Brown, general counsel of the city Rent Stabilization Board, which would place the measure on the ballot of the Nov. 8 General Municipal Election. Brown’s recommendations also include an amendment to the Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance that would allow residential rental units to be rent-controlled where state law has not allowed it before.
“Once the moratorium ends, we will see several of our neighbors will no longer have those protections and we are concerned, one of those is those is the ‘golden duplex’ exemption that continues with just cause, the other is that we remove the exception of just cause for our neighbors who live in (accessory dwelling units),” said Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner and Chair Leah Simon-Weisberg during the meeting.
The proposed measure language also calls for the elimination of a good cause for eviction statutes pertaining to occupancy which would defer occupancy violations to the number established by the Uniform Housing Code, rather than the discretion of the landlord.
In addition, Simon-Weisberg said during the meeting that this measure would also stand to hold the city accountable for the development and replacement of affordable, low-income housing.
“It won’t make it automatically rent control but it would provide council the opportunity and it would give tenants the opportunity to come under the protections of the rent board from the perspective of administration,” Simon-Weisberg said during the meeting.
However, City Councilmember Terry Taplin said in a statement that he opposed the current language of the measure because he believes it targets owner-occupied properties, known as “golden-duplexes,” instead of “faceless corporate landlords.”
He noted in the statement that many constituents have relayed to him that they would pull their rental units off the market in the event the measure passed.
Continued discussion on placing the measure on the November ballot will resume at the city’s July 26 council meeting.