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Pro-Tenant Groups, Landlords Mobilize Over City Eviction Moratorium: Oakland City Council prepares timeline to phase out eviction protections



Landlords rally to end Oakland's eviction moratorium, enacted to protect renters during the pandemic, Tuesday, March 21 at Oakland City Hall. Photo by Ken Epstein

By Ken Epstein

Landlords held a protest this week at an Oakland City Council meeting calling for an end to the city’s eviction moratorium protection, one of the strongest in the state, which was enacted to protect renters during the pandemic.

At the landlord rally Tuesday afternoon in City Hall lobby before the council meeting, led by former mayoral candidate Seneca Scott, landlords and landlord organizations demanded council members end the city’s eviction moratorium. Former City Councilmember Loren Taylor spoke at the rally.

“There’s a lot of data out there that speaks to the hundreds of millions of dollars that are outstanding in terms of unpaid rent, just in Oakland, not to mention the damage of property…destroying property, and we can’t remove them. It’s time to end this eviction moratorium,” said Derek Barnes of the East Bay Rental Housing Association (EBRHA).

Defending the moratorium or calling for its gradual phasing out were several pro-tenant organizations.  Oakland Rising put out a call on social media for tenant supporters to attend the council meeting to speak in favor of renter protections.

“It’s time to amplify our voices and urge our council members to retain the local moratorium ordinance that helps protect tenants against unjust evictions … Join us in standing together on behalf of those needing reliable shelter from potential displacement,” according to the Oakland Rising statement.

Meanwhile, as these eviction protections wind down in cities across the Bay Area and the state, the Oakland City Council has prepared a proposal to gradually phase out its moratorium, while seeking to respond to the needs of both landlords and tenants.  Almost 60% of Oakland residents are renters.

The problem of how to handle the fallout in the wake of the moratorium is huge and not confined to Oakland. Across the state an estimated 600,000 people owe $2.1 billion in back rent, according to researchers.

In Los Angeles city and county, about 200,000 people owe more than half a billion dollars in unpaid rent, according to the website Cal Matters.

In Alameda County, 32,900 households owe $125 million in unpaid rent, according to the National Equity Atlas. Thousands of Bay Area tenants are facing eviction, according to tenant advocates.

At the same time, small landlords say they are threatened with foreclosure as they are unable to collect rents or recoup unpaid rent owed by tenants over the last two or three years.

At this week’s Rules & Legislation Committee meeting of the Oakland City Council, Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and Councilmember Dan Kalb were expected to schedule legislation to phase out the moratorium.

The legislation would be heard at the April 11 meeting of the Community and Economic Development Committee, which could send it to the full council for a first reading on April 18, and a second and final reading on May 2.

This proposed ordinance would end the moratorium in phases “in order to help avoid a surge of evictions leading to an increase in homelessness, and allowing property owners to proceed with urgent evictions,” according to a press statement.

If approved, the timeline would be:

  • May 1 – Aug. 31, 2023 – transition period – certain evictions allowed.
  • Sept. 1, 2023 – eviction moratorium ends.
  • July 1, 2024 – rent increase moratorium ends.

The post Pro-Tenant Groups, Landlords Mobilize Over City Eviction Moratorium: Oakland City Council prepares timeline to phase out eviction protections first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.


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