Proposed Alameda rent law has many onerous loopholes

A letter to the editor regarding Alameda's proposed rent laws - Written by Harold Mackenzie, EBRHA Member - Posted Jul 29, 2016

A recent letter describing a landlords’ loophole in the Alameda Rent Control Ordinance is somewhat misleading.

The letter writer complains about a fixed-term lease being a loophole allowing a landlord to evict a tenant at the end of the lease without having to pay relocation fees. I do believe a lease is a contract and as such generally has many components but contains start and end dates.

When you rent a vacation home, there are start and end dates. When you rent an apartment to someone, you are not applying for adoption, which is what a lease without expiration would be, this person could become associated with you for life, not considering whether or not you wish to continue renting the property in question.

The reason for the life association would be due to the tenant being allowed to sublease the property under the Alameda Renters Coalition proposal on the ballot in November. The tenant could sublease the property to anyone of his or her choosing, without the landlord’s consent or knowledge as long as the tenant claims the property as his or her primary residence. The benefit to the tenant is the tenant would rent the apartment or house at a reduced price due to rent control and make a profit by subleasing the property to a second person for the tenant’s personal financial gain or profit.

 The landlord would have no control over who the subtenant is, regardless of the subtenant’s personal history. This subtenant, under certain circumstances, could become the legal tenant of the property without going through the tenant vetting process that includes a credit check. There are many other loopholes in the Alameda Renters Coalition proposal that are onerous and could subject the city of Alameda to extended litigation at taxpayers’ expense.

Alameda voters should read the entire ARC rent control proposal before voting in order to comprehend how onerous and punitive it is, not only to landlords, but to all property owners in Alameda. Community housing is not an issue to be supported by a select group of citizens, i.e. landlords, it is a community-wide problem and must be resolved and supported by the entire community through community financing.

This is not to say renters in Alameda do not have a legitimate complaint with regards to rising rents, but the city of Alameda and particularly the City Council is complicit in this becoming an out-of-control issue by allowing inappropriate statistical data to be considered and applied to the standard operating procedures of all Alameda landlords. The statistical data was inappropriate then and continues to be today and was instrumental in causing this issue to escalate out of control.

Harold Mackenzie, Alameda

Harold Mackenzie is an EBRHA member. Article Source: Alameda Journal

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