Rent Control to be tossed around at Internal Affairs committee meeting, Monday, Oct. 7, 4 – 6 pm

3 Oct

I’ve always heard an old saying, “evil never sleeps”. When I look at the agendas for various City of Chico committees, commissions, etc, I get it.

At next week’s Internal Affairs Committee meeting – Monday, 10/7, 4 – 6 pm – Council members Huber, Ory and Brown will discuss rent control. So  far, they’ve spent at least three months kicking around an illegal ordinance requiring landlords to give 120 days notice before terminating a tenancy, brought forth not by the public as Staff had claimed, but by the North Valley Property Owners Association (dominated by corporate landlords) and the Sierra North Valley Realtors (what?). 

  1. For any rental agreement or lease terminating after December 6, 2019, the landlord or
    owner of any residential rental unit on a property with 2 or fewer units shall provide tenant
    written notice of non-renewal of such lease or rental agreement at least 120 days prior to
    the date landlord intends such lease or rental agreement to terminate.
    2. Any lease or rental agreement of a residential property entered into after August 6, 2019
    shall include a requirement that the owner shall provide tenant at least a 120-day notice of
    owner’s intent to terminate such lease or rental agreement.
    3. Notice requirements shall only apply to landlord or owner of property; nothing in this
    ordinance shall require a tenant or lessee to provide any additional notice beyond what is
    required by state law or pursuant to their rental agreement or lease.

A quick search of the internet would have told them their ordinance was entirely illegal, but they paid $taff and the city attorney to research it anyway. Their report to council at the August 6 regular council meeting:

Upon legal review by the City Attorney’s office, it was found that the feasibility of moving forward
with the proposed language was problematic due to similar enhanced notice language being
adjudicated as pre-empted by state law in 1986.

Ha ha. I wonder how many staffers were not even born yet in 1986.  “pre-empted by state law” means illegal. The law also states legal reasons for eviction or termination of tenancy as follows:

• Termination of month-to-month tenancy (Tenant living at residence less than one year): 30-
Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy
• Termination of month-to-month tenancy (Tenant living at residence more than one year): 60-
Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy
• Termination of Section 8 Tenancy (For Cause): 60-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy
with cause specified
• Non-Payment of Rent: 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
• Curable Breach of Rental Agreement (other than rent): 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants
or Quit
• Non-curable Breach of Rental Agreement: 3-Day Notice to Quit
• Termination of Section 8 Tenancy (No Cause): 90-Day Notice of Termination of Tenancy

In fact, something the city has confused in their reports are the legal terms “Termination of Tenancy” and “Eviction.” A termination means the lease has come to it’s end and either the landlord or the tenant does not wish to renew it. With 30 days notice (or 60 if the tenant has lived in the rental for more than a year) a landlord can terminate a lease without any reason except that they do not wish to continue the agreement. 

An eviction is a legal proceeding resulting from things like failure to pay rent, damages that were not covered by the deposit, or refusal to vacate the premises when in violation of the lease. Eviction, or “unlawful detainer”, ends up on the court records.  That is something prospective landlords can and do use to turn down applicants, and it screws up a person’s credit. 

It was tough to watch another meeting chaired by Randy Stone – when will this guy learn how to chair a meeting? The discussion was supposed to be about the ordinance, but strayed all over the place. Huber kept wanting to talk about his September “housing conference”, which is about the general availability of housing in Chico, having more to do with how to clear hurdles for developers than anything about protecting renters. Other members of council went off topic with Huber. Meanwhile, Schwab kept trying to bring the conversation back to renter protection because that’s going to be the basis of her 2020 reelection campaign. 

Maybe Scott Huber should tell all of us how, as a realtor, he “flipped” my old neighbor’s house. Huber signed an agreement to sell this man’s house, then bought it himself one morning, selling it later that afternoon at a tidy profit. That is how the cost of housing really gets inflated – GREEDY REALTORS.  What a hypocrite that guy is, the nerve he has to talk about this issue without even disclosing the fact that he is a realtor. 

None of these people gives a rat’s ass about the tenant.

When members of the public came forward to speak on this issue at the August 2 council meeting

https://chico-ca.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=857&meta_id=67128

they complained that they had not been brought into the conversation in the beginning, that it was all done in day meetings between staff, NVPOA and SNVR. They were right, I received a notice of those meetings. One other group curiously left out of the invitation were “Mom and Pop” landlords, even though the language of the proposed ordinance most certainly did include them.  “the landlord or owner of any residential rental unit on a property with 2 or fewer units…”

The most common complaint speakers at the August 2 meeting had was not being told why they were being kicked out. That is something that was not addressed either in the first proposal, nor discussed at the Aug 2 meeting.  Nor raised in any of the actions staff recommended researching at that meeting. Orme reported, “Though an ordinance increasing the notice period for a termination of tenancy may not be valid due to pre-emption, courts have upheld ordinances addressing other aspects of the rental market issues addressed during the July 2 Council meeting:

• Rent control (albeit with limited effect pursuant to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act).
• Limit increases of security deposits.
• Requiring one-year leases.
• Prohibition of no-fault evictions of families with children and educators during the school
year

Before the public was even allowed to speak,the matter was directed to the Internal Affairs committee, and agendized for Monday afternoon over two months later). I wonder if any of the disgruntled speakers were even noticed of the IA meeting, or will attend. Here’s the agenda item.

B. LANDLORD/PROPERTY OWNER 120-DAY NOTICING PROPOSAL
At its meeting of 7/2/19, the Council engaged in a discussion to further protect residents impacted by rental
housing market pressures exacerbated by the secondary impacts of the Camp Fire. The City Council
directed City staff to research and develop an ordinance aligned with a proposal presented by the North
Valley Property Owners Association (NVPOA) and the Sierra North Valley Realtors (SNVR), to mandate a
120-day notice when the property owner intends to terminate tenancy. After meeting with representatives of
both entities and further researching the prospects of such an ordinance, research showed that an
ordinance requiring 120-day notice provision for residential rental leases is pre-empted by state law
governing timing of notices for tenancy terminations. At its meeting of 8/6/19 the Council referred the item
to the Internal Affairs Committee for further discussion. (Report – Mark Orme, City Manager and Deputy
City Attorney Andrew Jared)

I received another notice a couple of hours later, the staffer said to discard the previous agenda she’d sent.

B. DISCSUSION [sic] OF TENANT PROTECTIONS
At its meeting of 7/2/19, the Council engaged in a discussion to further protect residents impacted by rental
housing market pressures exacerbated by the secondary impacts of the Camp Fire. The City Council
directed City staff to research and develop an ordinance aligned with a proposal presented by the North
Valley Property Owners Association (NVPOA) and the Sierra North Valley Realtors (SNVR), to mandate a
120-day notice when the property owner intends to terminate tenancy. After meeting with representatives of
both entities and further researching the prospects of such an ordinance, research showed that an
ordinance requiring 120-day notice provision for residential rental leases is pre-empted by state law
governing timing of notices for tenancy terminations. At its meeting of 8/6/19 the Council referred the item
to the Internal Affairs Committee for further discussion with a specific focus on tenant protections.

You see the title has been changed, I’m guessing they knew the reference to an illegal act was going to piss people off. And, she had to add, “with a specific focus on tenant protections,” because the discussion at the Aug 2 meeting went all over town and back.  So the staffer had to change it, and then resend the e-mail. That’s what we call “$taff Time” and this council seems to burn through it like toilet paper. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Rent Control to be tossed around at Internal Affairs committee meeting, Monday, Oct. 7, 4 – 6 pm”

  1. bob October 7, 2019 at 2:58 pm #

    A must read article on tax increases. The article makes too many points to mention here but here is one of the most important.

    Tax increases should improve services, not cover up legacy costs arising from obligations created by elected officials without voter consent. State legislators should require state and local governments, school districts and other public entities to submit retirement obligations to voters for approval and to provide truthful and full disclosure of the real reasons behind proposed tax increases.

    View at Medium.com

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