Reinvigorated by the passage of rent control in Richmond, California last week, Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, today announced the rollout of a rent control toolkit for California cities. The first installment of the toolkit includes a model rent control law and rent control fact sheets. The toolkit is available online at www.TenantsTogether.org/RentControlToolkit Additional documents will be added to the toolkit on an ongoing basis this summer. The toolkit synthesizes the legal, organizing and policy expertise of Tenants Together staff, volunteers, members, and member organizations on the issue of rent control.
“Rent control is a successful and cost-effective way for cities to prevent displacement and stabilize neighborhoods,” said Dean Preston, founder and Executive Director of Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights. “As more and more cities look to rent control to stop unfair rent hikes and displacement, we hope the tools we are releasing will help educate advocates, media, politicians, and the public about how rent control really works.”
Burlingame tenant Cindy Cornell welcomed the announcement. “Community members need help pushing back against a well-funded industry that is hell-bent on making sure landlords can continue to impose huge rent increases,” said Cornell. Cornell has first hand experience with massive rent increases and their impact. Four years ago, she lived in a 10-unit building of seniors who were all handed rent increases of $850 and higher from a new owner. The tenants were forced from their homes by the rent increases. Two of her neighbors died from the stress and displacement they experienced. “After coming home from my friend Patty’s funeral, I started Burlingame Advocates for Renter Protections, a grassroots organization working to enact rent stabilization, a just cause eviction ordinance, and other tenant protections. I’ve seen it – displacement kills.” The toolkit will be a resource for advocates like Cornell, as well as media, politicians, and other policy makers.
Today’s release includes the following toolkit documents:
1. Model Rent Control Ordinance for California Cities – created with input from leading tenant advocates
2. 10 key facts about rent control – a two-page document that dispels many common misperceptions
3. Rent Control 101 – a guide that explains exactly how rent control works in California
Additional tool kit contents will be added in August.
Last Tuesday, by a 4-1 vote, the City of Richmond, CA passed a rent control law, the first new law of its kind in California in 30 years. The Richmond Coalition for Fair Rents and Just Cause turned out in force for repeated city council hearings to demand rent control. Councilmembers Jovanka Beckles, Eduardo Martinez and Gayle McLaughlin, along with Vice Mayor Jael Myrick, withstood an aggressive and well-funded lobbying effort by the real estate industry and voted to protect tenants against unfair rent increases and arbitrary evictions.
The effort to win rent control in Richmond was closely watched across the region. In the days leading up to the hearing, landlord advocates and tenant advocates both noted that passage of rent control in Richmond would create momentum for rent control in other California cities. With soaring rents and displacement, the rent control toolkit is a timely resource for cities and residents.