Response to City of Hayward's Emergency Just Cause for Evictions Ordinance

RE: Adoption of Emergency Ordinance Requiring Just Cause for Tenant Evictions for All Rental Units within the City

Dear Mayor Halliday and City Council Members,

We are encouraged to see that after nearly 3 years of the community’s urging, this council has begun to back up their words with actions. This is evident from the work session on February 19, 2019 where council demonstrated nearly unanimous support for just cause eviction protections for all tenants. This protection is crucial. The community needed it a long time ago, but we are glad it is finally here. We hope this is an indication of more pro-tenant policies to come.

Again; we urge you all to vote “yes” on the staff recommendation regarding Just Cause eviction protections. The Hayward Collective has specifically been asking for this for over a year now. You all have in your hands the ability to extend stability and greater equality to the tens of thousands of tenants in our community. So please, vote “yes.”

But don't leave out the people suffering from de facto evictions via unsustainable rent increases.

Just Cause protections should be paired with limitations on rent increases to most effectively support the tenant community in Hayward. Temporary moratoriums on rent increases in California are fairly commonplace these days. We recently began to frame the moratorium as an “extension of the rent control provisions” hoping such language change would make it easier on you. But it’s all the same thing.

An emergency moratorium on rent increases while the council works out all of the details of the RRSO is the sensible and responsible response to the constantly evolving landscape. Even at the March 27, 2018 council meeting, Councilmember Salinas understood and supported a “pause” on rent increases for this very reason.

Based on the comments made at the February 26, 2019 council meeting it seems everyone understands that landlords may take actions to evict and or increase rents while this public discussion develops. Yet, when Councilmember Wahab made the referral that same night for a moratorium on rent increases; Councilmembers Zermeño and Lamnin refused to support the referral.

Councilmember Zermeño was a firm no and tried to claim that it would be “unfair” to the two councilmembers absent from the meeting. Yet, legislative votes were made that same night; with those two councilmembers still absent. The hypocrisy of such positioning is insulting to this community’s intelligence and awareness of the linguistic maneuvering happening before us.

Councilmember Lamnin called on concerns of legality and acted as though such an idea had never been broached before. It is difficult to believe the authenticity of this concern given the City Attorney's clear response that a moratorium on rent increases is legal. Additionally, on March 27, 2018 when Councilmember Marquez begged for a moratorium on rent increases during that work session; there was no such question of or concern for legality.

Both then and now Councilmembers Zermeño and Lamnin - and others - have demonstrated that they will protect landlord profits (a protection already codified in state law) over tenants’ need for stable housing; that any push towards progressive policies is really that. A push by community. Because this council is not getting there on its’ own. So we will continue to push; hold this Council accountable; and shine a very bright light on the decisions being made in Council chambers.


Sincerely,

The Hayward Collective

Alicia LawrenceComment