The tone and tenor of landlords opposing proposed changes to Hayward’s rent ordinance last week during a City Council meeting was disconcerting to Councilmember Elisa Marquez, who voiced displeasure for their public threats then, and in months prior.
This week, Marquez requested that an emergency ordinance be prepared for the Mar. 5 council meeting in order to enact just-cause renters’ protections in Hayward.
Just-cause typically prohibits landlords from evicting tenants without a specific reason, other than failure to pay rent, criminal conduct, and other violations of a lease agreement.
“My fear, given the public comments last week, there’s going to be more challenges and burden put on our Hayward tenants, so I wanted an extra layer of protection prior to us implementing any type of amendments to the rent stabilization ordinance,” said Marquez, pictured above, said at the Feb. 26 council meeting.
Marquez’s proposed emergency ordinance could last between 6-12 months, she proposed Tuesday.
An emergency ordinance is established immediately and sidesteps the need for a second reading of an ordinance before passage. However, it requires a supermajority of support from the council. In this case, at least five of seven councilmembers.
The concern that landlords could use the current period of time to raise rents before the likelihood of more onerous rent protection being approved this year is also a concern for the Hayward city administration.
“Staff had some similar concerns about retaliation from landlords while the legislation is pending,” said Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo. “This will help protect against that at some level.”
A full review of the city’s rent stabilization ordinance is expected later this spring or summer. But concern over the slow pace for bringing forth rent protections is becoming an issue as Hayward residents continue to describe facing increasingly high rents.
Councilmember Aisha Wahab, right, who campaigned last year on platform to bring housing security to Hayward, added her own referral Tuesday night, asking the council to impose a wide-ranging moratorium on all rent increases. “Let’s pause everything and not push out any more people,” said Wahab.
The request appeared to catch city staff and Wahab’s council colleagues off guard. “I’m concern were moratorium-izing the ordinance,” Councilmember Mark Salinas said of the rent stabilization ordinance under review. “And I feel, isn’t that the reason why were establishing the Housing and Homelessness Committee, to work this out?”
“This is really bizarre right now,” he added.
Salinas, Wahab, and Councilmember Sara Lamnin sit on the committee tasked with finding solutions to the city’s housing crisis.
After some discussion, Wahab’s referral, despite her disinclination, was steered toward the homelessness committee, while Marquez’s returns next Tuesday night.