Alameda County eviction moratorium to sunset in 60 days
At a glance:
› Alameda County's eviction moratorium will expire on April 29, 2023.
› Proposals for a countywide rent registry and just cause eviction restrictions have been shelved for now.
› A "fair chance" ordinance may eventually pass after further tweaks in a committee.
After 3 long years, cash-starved landlords finally have an end date for Alameda County's draconian eviction ban.
It wasn't by design, but purely coincidental that after months of delays, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors met to discuss the county's archaic eviction moratorium on February 28 - the same day that Governor Newsom rescinded the declaration of a COVID state of emergency declaration.
My, tides have turned. In the last meeting set to discuss the eviction moratorium, tenant activists with the Moms 4 Housing movement disrupted the event. This time around, landlords were out in full force. There were so many attendees that an overflow room was set up to accommodate the number of people who wanted to speak. Take a look.
Too little, too late is our gut reaction to Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, but we are relieved that there is an end in sight to the eviction moratorium.
Lawmakers have allowed the county's blanket ban on evictions to sunset without having ended it on their own. It was determined that any action taken by the board would be pointless; the County Clerk informed the board that after procedural chores like motions and readings, the earliest date that the moratorium would be April 27, just a couple of days away from when it will expire naturally. “Now it seems rather moot if we put this item on a future agenda,” Supervisor David Haubert said.
Both Supervisors Haubert and Nate Miley recognized that action should have been taken earlier. Our community should applaud these lawmakers for their advocacy in bringing the eviction moratorium front and center, but they were largely impotent to make things happen.
Every step of the way, Supervisor Keith Carson obstructed any efforts to repeal or modify the eviction moratorium. There were tragic passings of Wilma Chan and then, most recently, Richard Valle. We mourn their loss and owe these public servants a great deal of gratitude.
It's been suggested that any future matters be heard by a full board and that an incoming board member be voted into the seat through a special election and not be appointed.
Lena Tam made her debut and put on an impressive performance.
The newly minted Supervisor and real estate-backed Lena Tam promised to bring a balanced voice to the board. We didn't know her stances on the eviction moratorium and other tenant protections except for a neutral - if not cryptic - tweet posted weeks ago expressing an open mind and careful study.
She delivered on this pledge. In a memorable moment, a protester told Tam that Supervisor Wilma Chan would have voted in favor of tenants' rights. In response, Tam said that Supervisor Chan would want her to do her homework and due diligence when casting a vote.
Making landlords whole?
A recurring theme for Supervisor Haubert has been the desire to "make landlords whole," one of the topics broached in a recent Town Hall meeting.
Supervisors have directed staff to look into possible sources for additional federal and state funds to assist struggling landlords and renters who are not qualified for the first rounds of rental assistance. We do know that there is some money in the county's coffers and we have reached out to Supervisor Haubert's staff to ascertain where these dollars would come from.
Cautionary words: We are not done yet.
The refreshing news for our clients and landlords in Alameda County is that we have some sense of finality, and it's a little like the stock market. Investors absolutely abhor and cannot tolerate uncertainty.
However, there are many questions that linger in terms of how local ordinances fit into the larger scheme of Alameda County's eviction moratorium sunsetting. Local governments have continued to shield renters in a handful of cities.
Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro are flaming beacons of concern for us. Oakland has extended eviction protections through March and may opt for yet another extension. In Berkeley, meanwhile, the city's eviction moratorium for a large swath of renters has been prolonged to August but the city has carved out an exception for owner move-in evictions, which can begin earlier. San Leandro has kept its eviction ban open-ended.
So, we've come full circle, folks.
When COVID reared its ugly head, there was a dizzying patchwork of rules to follow and with an overlay of state, county, and city edicts, we had to ascertain which law applied. And these rules were always in a state of flux. We had to hopscotch from one revision and extension to the next.
The outset of the pandemic was messy, and as we wind down pandemic-era protections, it will be just as messy. We've weathered the storm, but there will still be bumps on the way down best piloted with proper counsel.
Although our mission is to keep the rental housing community informed, we do not work on an island. A special thanks to our industry partners for joining us in this goal, with a particular appreciation for Paul Taylor, the Executive Director of the Rental Housing Association of Southern Alameda County, and Krista Gulbransen, who heads the Berkeley Property Owners Association.