A new rent stabilization ordinance in Hayward was formally approved Tuesday night. But the ordinance does not come into effect until July 25. In order to prevent potential rent gouging in the interim by Hayward landlords, the Hayward City Council unanimously placed a short-term emergency moratorium on rent increases above five percent for roughly 9,500 units protected under the new ordinance.

Any notice of the landlord’s intent to raise rents above the threshold on units built before 1979 from Tuesday through July 25 will be void, under the moratorium.

Hayward officials and members of the public have detailed numerous cases of Hayward landlords demanded steep rent hikes in recent years just as the housing crisis began to devastate Hayward in a similar fashion to neighboring East Bay cities.

But the council relented on the same proposal last week after Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab offered the same short-term moratorium plan to protect renters who might fall victim to landlords gratuitously using the small window of time to issue rent increases prior to full approval of the ordinance.

EBC 10 fundraising ad1Councilmember Elisa Marquez balked at Wahab’s proposed moratorium because she believed it was offered too late in the process and she needed more time to evaluate its merits. “This is unacceptable,” Marquez blurted.

The rent ordinance approved last week adds renters’ protections to an estimated 9,500 units in Hayward. For this segment of the rental market, landlords are prohibited from raising annual rents above five percent. Landlords, however, can petition the city for higher increases through a new mediation and binding arbitration process. Just-cause protections are also included in the ordinance. However, tenant relocation payments are not.

Although the ordinance was passed last week, it required a second approval at Tuesday night’s meeting. The ordinance then comes into effect 30 days later. In this case, on July 25.