Santa Rosa Rent Control Moratorium Takes Effect June 18

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Kevin McCallum
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A 45-day moratorium on rent increases of more than 3 percent will take effect in Santa Rosa on June 18 after the City Council formally approved the measure Tuesday on a second vote.

The council initially passed the measure May 10 and confirmed it Tuesday on a 4-3 vote, a split that reflects the sharp divisions in the community over the wisdom of the move.

The temporary moratorium is aimed at preventing landlords from hiking rents while the city designs a rent-control program. That process is expected to take several months.

Single-family homes, condominiums, duplexes and owner-occupied triplexes are exempt from the moratorium.

About 12,000 apartments, or 18 percent of the city’s 67,934 housing units, would be affected by the measure.

The city did not make the measure take effect immediately, giving landlords a small window to increase rents before the moratorium goes into effect.

Under state law, landlords must give tenants 30 days notice before increasing rents up to 10 percent, and 60 days notice to increase it more than 10 percent.

City Attorney Caroline Fowler told the council that city staff is preparing answers to frequently asked questions to help landlords and renters better understand the measure.

She explained that the moratorium applies to a “cumulative 12-month period,” meaning landlords who increased rents 2 percent six months ago would be allowed to raise rents 1 percent more during the period.

Landlords who already have imposed increases of 3 percent or more in the past year would be barred from raising rents higher, she said.

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