Hayward: Task force to study lowering annual rent increase cap, but not before odd exchange involving mayor

During a somewhat routine update to Hayward’s rent stabilization ordinance last week in which certain tweaks and language intended to align the ordinance with changes in state law were offered by city staff, Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab sought a  significant change by proposing to lower the threshold for rent increases to roughly two percent a year.

Hayward beatThe reduction in the rent increase cap has been long sought by Wahab, local activists and housing advocates. Neighboring cities such as Oakland and Alameda have similar restrictions on how much landlords can raise rents each year.

Hayward’s allows for up to a five percent annual increase in rent. In some cases banked increases, fair return for landlords, and capital improvement pass-throughs can raise the cap to up to 10 percent. Hayward’s rent stabilization ordinance was approved by the city council in July 2019.

The state’s restrictions are similar, allowing five percent annual rent increases plus any change in the Consumer Price Index, although capped at no more than 10 percent.

A motion by Wahab to make the change initially received a second from Councilmember Elisa Marquez, but was later withdrawn in an odd exchange in which Mayor Barbara Halliday appeared to anticipate Marquez would pull her second and replace it with a motion to have the city’s Homelessness and Housing Task Force take a look at the plan, possibly in September. The motion was later approved by the council.

Despite Wahab’s repeated protestations, Halliday ignored her and allowed Marquez to proceed. Councilmembers Al Mendall, Sara Lamnin, and Wahab, each questioned why other members were not allowed to provide a substitute motion. But Halliday, City Manager Kelly McAdoo, and City Attorney Michael Lawson were adamant that the mayor had asked for a new motion from her colleagues. A review of the recording shows Halliday never did.

In addition, to Wahab and Marquez, Councilmember Francisco Zermeno voiced interest for a reduction in the annual rent cap. Lamnin, meanwhile, suggested high rents in Berkeley are a function of that city’s restrictions on rent increases. The talking point is often used by landlords’ groups who oppose various types of rent control. The comment is often used in tandem with Oakland, which also has restrictive rules for raising rents.

“I’m confused and disappointed,” Councilemember Mark Salinas said. “We went in here to essentially clean up our language and fine-tune this ordinance with the understanding we would come back to council later in the year to make the tweaks and revisions that we need to have happen.”

7 thoughts on “Hayward: Task force to study lowering annual rent increase cap, but not before odd exchange involving mayor

  1. Following the State % of increase is quite reasonable. It would be a mistake to punish individuals for owning a rental in Hayward. And we all know, rent control doesn’t really achieve the desired outcome. The Hayward community should focus on providing citizens with education and skills to compete in the Bayarea. That would be a successful plan.

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  2. Why not tie increases to published COL with a cap on pass throughs for improvements. Tenants need some certainty and landlords are entitled to recover costs. Landlords who prefer to not do business in Hayward will sell and move on. Example of how policies in SF and NY failed to keep rents down are good. The market will determine what people are willing to pay. The mayor did the right thing by asking that it be studied.

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  3. Hi, Will it include Unincorporated? Our rent is raised every year. Please if were not, please include us. We pay taxes in Hayward. We also Shop in Hayward. Since this pandemic we’ve tried to only shop in Hayward.

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  4. I really don’t understand why they undersell underrepresent hayward ALL THE TIME. They want to do the make you feel good crap always at residents expense. Like this i am a landlord of 1 house if i get the bad tenant 6 months free they can drag it out. That is financially crippling for me. You always do this crap to the little guy.I used tio support and love Hayward starting to HATE THIS CITY SERIOUSLY. Always penalize little guy

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  5. When will they learn that rent control does nothing to lower rental prices and disincentivizes landlords to property maintain properties. SF & NY have had rent control for decades and are the most expensive places to live in the United States, they also have the highest concentration of “slumlords” which is primarily caused by rent control. Of course, you can’t expect a councilmember such as Wahab, who has absolutely no business/fiscal sense to understand a topic such as this. One of the most unqualified individuals I have ever seen on a city council.

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