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Palo Alto Approves Rental Registry Program

The City Council has tasked its staff with creating a comprehensive registry of rental units in Palo Alto, motivated by several key objectives. Firstly, the aim is to gain a nuanced understanding of the dynamic residential rental landscape in Palo Alto, examining it from the perspectives of both renters and landlords.

What is the Palo Alto Rental Registry Program?(RRP)

This initiative also seeks to enhance the quality of policy decisions by leveraging data. By making informed decisions, the City Council hopes to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare for Palo Alto residents. Moreover, the goal is to establish policies that foster certainty, stability, and fairness within the residential rental market, benefiting both renters and landlords.

The registry serves as a tool to bolster community awareness of existing protections for renters. By providing a centralized source of information, the City Council aims to empower residents with knowledge about their rights and the available safeguards in place.

Additionally, the registry is a strategic instrument in realizing the objectives outlined in the City’s Housing Element. It facilitates the implementation of housing goals, policies, and programs. The information gathered will be instrumental in guiding significant investments made by the City in the protection, preservation, and production of rental units.

The uniqueness of the registry lies in its ability to capture specific details not readily available from broader sources like the Decennial Census and American Community Survey (ACS). This includes granular information such as rent amounts and tenancy durations. This specificity enables the City to tailor its rental policies to better address the diverse and evolving needs of both current and future renters and landlords in Palo Alto.

To streamline the process, landlords are entrusted with the responsibility of furnishing information for their respective rental units. This collaborative effort between the City Council and landlords aims to create a comprehensive and accurate repository of data that can inform policies and initiatives for the betterment of the Palo Alto community.

Which Rental Units Need to Register?

Following the Policy & Services Committee’s recommendation, the rental registry will adopt the following definition for mandatory registration of rental units:

A residential rental unit is characterized as any housing structure used as a dwelling or made available for rent or lease as a dwelling, regardless of its attachment, detachment, or whether it is a single or multiple-family unit. This definition encompasses accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) as well.

To learn more about the program, you can visit https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/Departments/Planning-Development-Services/Housing-Policies-Projects/Rental-Registry-Program