In a move that sounds even more progressive and renter-friendly than San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, Oakland's City Council last night approved a 90-day moratorium on all rent hikes citywide. The vote came after midnight following a meeting that CBS 5 calls "boisterous" and the Chronicle notes drew about 200 speakers during the public comment section.
Landlords spoke out against the emergency ordinance, which one called "political showmanship," but plenty more renters showed up to decry the rising median rent Oakland ($3,000 as of recently, according to Trulia), and to talk about how family members had been forced to leave the city where they and others had lived for generations.
Also, multiple landlords reportedly cited their need to make necessary repairs and improvements but, to be fair, it's just 90 days.
Though some tweets and television reporters are reporting that the ordinance included a moratorium on no-cause evictions as well, that stipulation was stripped out of the ordinance that passed the council's unanimous vote, according to the Chronicle.
Oakland city council OK's 90-day moratorium on rental increases. https://t.co/r98I3Hyovz— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) April 6, 2016
Indeed, as of early 2015, Oakland's rents were outpacing San Francisco's in terms of price hikes, and the city had the second fastest growing rental market in the country at the time. (According to Apartment List, Oakland no longer ranks in the top 10 for median rent or fastest growing rents.) And does everybody remember this controversial open-letter titled "Stop Moving to Oakland"?
Now, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says one in four Oakland residents is in danger of being displaced though it's unclear where that figure comes from. Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney introduced the emergency ordinance, which grew out of a draft proposal from housing activists submitted last month.
As NBC Bay Area reports, many of those who spoke at the meeting last night had themselves been served with eviction notices recently, though it does not appear that the ordinance will be able to do much to help them.
City Councilwoman and several-time mayoral candidate Rebecca Kaplan said, "Many of the evictions taking place are actually illegal," and Kaplan also voiced frustration that funds for a program to educate tenants about their rights have not yet been released, after the program was approved last October.
The ordinance will not apply to units built after 1983, because of state law, but council members say they hope to use the next 90 days to draft more ordinances, including one restricting Airbnb rentals in the city, in efforts to protect renters and preserve affordable rental housing.
But, much like San Francisco, Oakland faces a shortage of affordable units, in a city that is 60 percent renters. And as it has historically, Oakland's rental market follows in SF's footsteps and mirrors its prices, tending only to be only slightly lower. As one speaker at the meeting said, per NBC Bay Area, "Nobody used to want to live here. Now because of gentrification, everybody wants to live here and push us out."