Vice Mayor Jael Myrick calling for 45-day moratorium on rent increases and evictions in Richmond

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Richmond Vice Mayor Jael Myrick says now is the time to discuss whether rent control is the right call for the city.

Today, Myrick confirmed to the Richmond Standard what he first told the San Jose Mercury News, that he’s planning to pitch a 45-day moratorium on rent increases and evictions in the city, saying a temporary freeze would inspire a more “sober, reflective” conversation on a heated topic.

The vice mayor said he’s still hashing out the details of his proposal, but hopes to have it on the April 21 council agenda.

“It’s a very tough issue,” he said.

Tonight, the city is hosting the second of two community workshops aiming to give the public an opportunity to help shape Richmond’s future housing policies, including the grounds on which a landlord can justifiably evict a tenant. The meeting takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Bermuda Room, 403 Civic Center Plaza.

As the Mercury News points out, soaring Bay Area rents have sparked calls for rent control in various cities. In Richmond earlier this month, calls for rent control were renewed after tenants of two buildings on Bissell Avenue received notices of up to 20-percent rent increases.

The concerns also stem from a recent study by the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society study finding that Richmond residents are becoming priced out. About 37-percent of all Richmond renters earn less than $35,000 annually and spend more than 30-percent of their income on housing, the report indicated.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt does not support rent control. He points to cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley, where rent control policies have not prevented skyrocketing rents.

“We cannot regulate ourselves out of an affordable housing crunch; we have to build our way out of it,” Butt has said.

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