Navigating the Waters of Concord’s Proposed Rent Control Ordinance

The upcoming Concord City Council meeting on January 30 promises to be a crucial juncture in the ongoing discussions surrounding the proposed rent control ordinance. Following an extensive debate during the recent council session, the city council has decided to continue the public hearing, focusing on amendments that could significantly shape the ordinance’s restrictiveness.

Navigating the Waters of Concord's Proposed Rent Control Ordinance

Discussion and Additional Hearing

During the last council session, the discussions on potential changes to the rent control measure lasted until nearly 11 p.m. The intensity of the debate prompted the city to seek additional public input, leading to the scheduling of the upcoming hearing at the end of the month. The primary focus will be on amendments, with key points including relocation payments for tenants and changes to the definition of “owner.”

Proposed Amendments

Relocation Payments

Councilman Dominic Aliano, Mayor Edi Birsan, and Councilwoman Laura Nakamura are advocating for increases in relocation payments. If approved, tenants could receive three months’ HUD Fair Market Rent, an additional $3,000 for moving expenses, and an extra month’s rent for vulnerable renter households.

Changes to the Definition of “Owner”

The council is contemplating significant changes to the definition of “owner” to limit property owners’ ability to terminate tenancies for personal or family occupancy. This includes a residency requirement after an owner-move-in termination and a 1:1 owner move-in provision, particularly for seniors and renters with disabilities.

Rent Rollback and Cap

The current draft of the ordinance includes a rent rollback, proposing retroactive adjustments to January 2023. Mayor Birsan, Councilman Aliano, and Councilwoman Nakamura strongly advocate for this stipulation. However, Vice Mayor Carlyn Obringer and Councilwoman Laura Hoffmeister have suggested alternative dates and proposed a compromise rent cap of 4%-5%, which was ultimately rejected in favor of a 60% of the Consumer Price Index or 3% rent cap, whichever is lower.

City Staff’s Task

In response to this week’s discussions, the city staff is now tasked with incorporating the new amendments into the draft ordinance. The revised version is expected to be released by Friday, January 26, providing stakeholders with a brief opportunity to review the changes and provide feedback at the Jan. 30 meeting.

As Concord grapples with the complexities of the proposed rent control ordinance, the upcoming city council meeting is poised to be a pivotal moment. The amendments under consideration, stakeholder perspectives, and the city’s efforts to incorporate feedback will all contribute to shaping the future of rent control in Concord. The involvement of the community in this process is crucial for ensuring a fair and balanced outcome.