Alameda readies for second, more landlord-friendly, proposed ballot measure

Alameda’s infamous “spite house.”

ALAMEDA | A second rent-related ballot measure in Alameda might be coming to the November ballot. Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog filed a proposed charter amendment that would roll back recently approved relocation fees paid by landlords to tenants after evictions of any kind.

The intent to circulate a petition was filed by Daysog Mar. 31, just weeks after an Alameda renters group was approved to begin gathering signatures for a rent control ballot measure that would limit rent increases to a fraction of the annual consumer price index.

The Alameda City Council, including an affirmative vote from Daysog, formally approved a city ordinance in early March that limits annual rent increases to five percent without triggering a hearing with the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee. Daysog, though, despite voting for the ordinance, had voiced strong opposition to assessing relocation fees on what he termed Alameda’s “small mom-and-pop landlords.”

Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog is the main
proponent listed on paperwork for the city’s 
second proposed ballot measure related to rents.

The latest measure, labeled by proponents as “Protect Our Renters and Alameda-Based Small ‘Mom and Pop’ Landlords,” focuses on lowering the amount paid by property owners for relocation fees and exempting small-scale renters who live in Alameda and specifically when evicting tenants for the purpose of moving-in family members into the unit.

During deliberations over the most recent city ordinance on rents, councilmembers mostly disapproved of including such carve-outs in the legislation.

Under the proposed measure, renters who have lived in a unit for two or more years would receive relocation payments up to two months’ rent plus $1,500; and be limited to extremely low-income to moderate-income households. Tenants evicted by a landlord who resides in Alameda or is returning to live on the island, would be exempt from the fees if the purpose of the eviction is to replace them with family members or a licensed caretaker.

Gathering enough signatures for inclusion on the November ballot, however, may be difficult. Not only is Daysog’s propose measure unlikely to support much support among Alameda renters, who make up around 54 percent of residents, but it may also alienate large-scale and out-of-town property owners, in favor of local small-time landlords.

The city clerk’s office has two weeks to approve Daysog’s petition and issue a title and summary. The rent control measure backed by the Alameda Renters Coalition, meanwhile, is currently gathering signatures around the city. Both measures would need around 6,400 valid signatures for inclusion on the November general election ballot.

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