My referral on rent control and just cause eviction passed unanimously on Tuesday night. I want to thank my other Council members for agreeing that this is an important issue that deserves staff’s attention.
I have to emphasize that this does not at all mean that the City is moving ahead with rent control. The referral was simply to have staff investigate the issue and come back with a list of options that the City could undertake, rent control itself being only one of those options.
I also attended a meeting yesterday of the Housing Authority of the County of Alameda (HACA) today as the City of Fremont’s representative. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) establishes what are the fair market rates (FMRs) for apartments in our metropolitan area. These set the limit for what rents HUD will subsidize. Their proposed FMRs for 2015 have actually decreased by as much as 2% from 2013! The FMR is already low enough that qualified applicants have a hard time finding rental units that fit within these price guidelines. A decrease of 2% simply does not reflect the reality of the situation. HACA, other housing authorities, and many elected officials, including our two state senators, are working to get HUD to amend the FMRs to bring them more in line with real rental prices.
One of the items I mentioned in the Council meeting on Tuesday was that I wanted more data on rent increases. Fortunately, as part of the above efforts, a study is being performed along these lines. This will help us understand Fremont’s situation better and help with the argument that HUD needs to increase the FMRs significantly, not decrease them. One study in Oakland showed that rents there had increased 20% over the last couple of years.