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City Council Saves Oakland from Largest Annual Rent Increase in City’s History



Oakland apartment buildings

Councilmember Carroll Fife’s ordinance reduces inflated 6.7% allowable increase to a maximum of 3%, passes with six votes

By Ken Epstein

The Oakland City Council took a bold action this week to protect tenants from a huge increase in rents this year, which without council action was set to be one of the largest annual rent increases in city history.

Under the new ordinance, passed Tuesday, a proposed 6.7% allowable rent increase was reduced to a maximum of 3%.

The ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Carroll Fife, passed the Council Tuesday with six votes. Councilmember Noel Gallo voted no, and Councilmember Loren Taylor, a candidate for mayor, abstained.

“With gas prices nearing $7/gallon, the increased costs of food and everyday expenses, I could not, in good conscience, allow this exorbitant spike to take effect,” said Fife in an email newsletter.

“Thousands of Oakland residents will rest a little easier knowing their housing is secure,” she continued. “I’m grateful for my policy staff as well as city staff and attorneys who moved with urgency to bring this ordinance forward before it was able to do serious and irreparable harm.”

During hours of public testimony, tenants spoke about how the proposed increase would impact their lives. At a typical rent of $2050, a 6.7% increase would cost a renter $137.35 a month.

Several landlords who spoke at the meeting said they needed a larger than 3% rent increase to recoup COVID and utility losses. City staff responded that lost costs can be recovered in different ways despite the legislation.

Councilmember Fife has been pushing for increased tenant protections and low-rent housing as Oakland’s homelessness crisis continues to skyrocket — growing by 21% during the pandemic.

About 60% of Oakland residents are renters, and 51% of tenants are classified as very low-income, according to Fife.

Under Oakland’s rent control law, property owners can increase rents by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each year, generally between 1% and 3%.

But inflation this year has meant a CPI of 6.7% this year, set to go into effect on July 1.

The post City Council Saves Oakland from Largest Annual Rent Increase in City’s History first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.


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