Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction

CONCORD CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO INTRODUCE ORDINANCE ON RENT STABILIZATION, JUST CAUSE FOR EVICTIONexterior of apartment complex #1

Concord, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2024) -- At its Feb. 13 meeting, the Concord City Council voted to introduce an ordinance that would establish rent stabilization and just cause for eviction policies for Concord rental properties. In a 4-1 vote (Hoffmeister opposed), the Council approved language for the new law, which would take effect 30 days after final adoption.

The February 13, 2024 City Council meeting can be viewed here. 

In January 2023, the Council expressed its desire to protect the tenant community from displacement, and added a policy into the City’s Housing Element to move forward with considering rent stabilization and just cause policies.

Since January 2023, Council has held seven public meetings on this topic and has heard from hundreds of property owners and tenants. At its meeting on Feb. 13, the Council introduced the ordinance; its major provisions are outlined below. Changes made at the Feb. 13 meeting are identified as updates.

RENT STABILIZATION

Rent stabilization would NOT apply to rented single-family homes, rented condominium units, or rented accessory dwelling units.

Rent stabilization WILL apply to multi-family rental complexes of two or more units built before Feb. 1, 1995. 

Here is a brief description of major features to be included in the proposed new Ordinance:

  • Limit annual rent increases to 3% or 60% of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower.
  • Updated 2/13/24: The City Council shall review the Annual Allowable Rent Increase amount each year.
  • Updated 2/13/24: The City will honor agreements Affordable Housing providers have with the City or other government agencies that cap their rent increases at 5% or less in their regulatory agreements or deed restrictions. All other rent stabilization and just cause for eviction provisions apply.
  • Controls the allowable rent increases upon the first date of occupancy but does not control the dollar amount for starting-of-occupancy rent (i.e., it preserves vacancy decontrol).
  • Updated 2/13/24: Includes a “rent rollback” provision that sets rents to the dollar amounts that were charged for rent as of April 4, 2023, plus allows for up to the Ordinance-allowed rent increase of 2.52% for the 2023 calendar year (2.52% is 60% of the CPI for April 2023).
  • The Ordinance would establish a process utilizing a Hearing Officer whereby tenants could appeal their rent increases, if they believed them to be inconsistent with the City Ordinance, and whereby property owners could request higher rent increases, above what the Ordinance would otherwise allow, to obtain a fair return on their investment property.
  • Updated 2/13/24: If they choose to do so, tenants and property owners would be able to file a lawsuit directly with courts instead of having to first go through the City’s petition process.

JUST CAUSE FOR EVICTION

Just cause for eviction WOULD apply to most rented units in Concord, including rented single-family homes and rented condominium units.

Just cause would NOT apply to rented accessory dwelling units. 

Here is a brief description of major features to be included in the proposed new Ordinance:

  • Just cause regulations do not apply when a tenant is evicted for “at-fault” reasons, such as non-payment of rent, breach of a material term of the lease, or occupying the space in such a manner as to create a nuisance or criminal activity.
  • Just cause protections for tenants would be triggered when a tenant is evicted for “no-fault on the tenant’s part” reasons, such as when an owner wants to move into the unit, wants to remove the entire complex from the rental market (Ellis Act eviction), or needs the unit vacant to perform substantial rehabilitations.
  • A “right of return” would be available in some instances, such as when substantial rehabilitation is completed, or if an owner returns the unit to the rental market within a specified time after an Ellis Act eviction.
  • Updated 2/13/24: The Ordinance allows for owners to vacate sooner than the 24 months length of time required following an owner move-in if they are experiencing a “Significant Hardship” as defined in the Ordinance.
  • In the case of no-fault evictions at multifamily rental complexes, just cause provisions in the revised draft Ordinance would require the property owner to pay three times the Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Fair Market Rent (FMR) and an extra $3,000 to cover moving expenses. If applied in 2024, the total payment required would range from $8,475 for a studio unit to $14,862 for a four-bedroom unit. Prices are set by HUD for each calendar year. Certain tenants, such as those over 62 years of age, or who are terminally ill or disabled, would be eligible for an additional month of FMR.
  • Updated 2/13/24: For no-fault evictions, landlords of rented Single-Family Homes and Condominiums would pay the relocation assistance in the amount of two months of the tenant’s current rent plus a moving stipend of $2,000.

Everyone who owns property subject to either rent stabilization or just cause protections would be required to register their unit(s) with the City of Concord annually and pay a yet-to-be-determined annual registration and administration fee.

NEXT STEPS

Following the Feb. 13 introduction of the ordinance, staff expects to return to Council on Tuesday, March 5 for ordinance adoption. The ordinance will take effect 30 days later on April 4, 2024.

All landlords are required to register their rental units annually with the City on or before July 1 and pay a yet-to-be-determined fee, which will be used to finance the cost of the registry and implementation and enforcement of this policy.