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Tenant Protections?

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

The Sac City Law and Legislation Committee met on July 20th to discuss tenant “protections” (also known as the Tenant Protection Program) but as we saw from a flood of public comments, these protections leave quite a bit to be desired.

First, some background.

This item was on the agenda as an update from the Community Development Department, which was created as protection for renters in the City of Sacramento. They have three main focus areas:

  1. Maintaining a rental property registry & managing program fees

  2. Setting limits on maximum rent increases

  3. Providing eviction protections

Still have questions? So do we!

In terms of setting limits of rent increases, the annual rental rate increase cannot exceed 5% + change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index). The most recent maximum rent increase of 9% went into effect July 1st of this year. This applies to every renter, no matter how long they have lived in their residence. Rent cannot be increased more than once every 12 months.

Eviction protections used to look like rights violations on the part of property owners that would result in a warning. Now the CDD is issuing fines to those property owners who will not comply.

The CDD is partnering with Sacramento Self Help Housing to help triage calls, and they also claim to be partnering with other SSHH partners for outreach. In the name of outreach, the CDD hosted three educational webinars on this program.

What did the public have to say?

Calls from the public came in from those with personal experience with housing insecurity/instability in Sacramento, and also from those who advocate on behalf of impacted communities (organizations like ACCE and the STU).

Three main points came out the public comments:

  1. Currently eviction protections only kick in after a renter has resided in their home for a full year, advocates are demanding that this time-frame be changed to either 0 or 30 days. This is needed in order to avoid giving landlords an incentive to evict before one year has passed.

  2. There were complaints heard that the TPP was not a strong advocate for renters, and that renters only received resolutions to their complaints when they had an outside organization advocating for them. Basically people were saying that TPP is not great at outreach.

  3. Other comments centered around landlords doing things that are generally shady, like cashing checks weeks late, and lying about providing eviction notices.

One particularly powerful comment made came from a renter working with ACCE. This caller stated that they were begging for help for renters & not for landlords that have been exploiting them for so long. This caller made the passionate plea:

You’re killing people when you put them out on the street

The TPP was quick to pushback on the public comment and state that the organizations advocating for people were not sharing this information with them, and also that they doing their best for outreach.

Councilmembers thanked TPP for their hard work, and seemed in general agreement that they should have these meetings more frequently.

Big shoutout to Councilmember Valenzuela for advocating for instituting eviction protections after 30 days, as was requested by the community. Big thumbs down to Councilmembers Harris and Schenirer for insisting that the decision be “data-driven” and not based on “anecdotes” from public commenters.

This discussion will be continued in 3 months when there will be a draft for changing the eviction protection ordinance from 1 year to 30 days presented. Councilmember Valenzuela requested for the item to be put on the agenda so that they can take action at that time.

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