Category Archives: Housing

My Referral on Rent Control Passes Unanimously

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.

Affordable Housing Ordinance Updates Finalized

The City Council also heard the issue of the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance on March 3rd. While this issue is a general ordinance applicable to all future development, it has to be considered largely in regards to the proposed developments near the future Warm Springs BART station which could include as many as 4,000 homes.

The City’s current ordinance basically says that developers need to provide 15% of their units as affordable units. The prior ordinance from 2007 said that the rate would be raised from 15% to 20% on January 1, 2015 if the nexus study warranted it. The nexus study warranted an increase up to 25% for detached housing but only to 18% for condominiums/townhomes. Given this, I was hoping that we would move immediately to 20% for detached housing and to 18% for condominiums/townhomes. However, the ordinance was written to phase the increases in over a few years. For the immediate future, the rates were to remain largely the same.


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Discussion of the Affordable Housing Ordinance

The second item in last night’s Council meeting was the City’s Affordable Housing Ordinance. Sorry for the lengthy post but this is a rather complicated issue.

Staff presented their progress on updating the ordinance and requested input from Council. Staff wanted to know if Council was interested in raising the fees, the timing of fee increases, whether the fees should be tied to economic conditions, should there be a fee for low/very low income as suggested by the nexus study, if apartments should pay a reduced rate, and if smaller apartments should pay an even smaller rate.

I believe the fees should be increased. The nexus study supports well over 20% for detached homes but not for condominiums or townhomes where only 17-18% is warranted. Staff recommended an increase to well over 20% for detached homes and about 17% for townhomes/condos.


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