Apr 14, 2015

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.


  1. Imposing rent controls is the surest way there is to create a scarcity of housing and also to discourage the mobility of renters by trapping them in rent-controlled housing. The city should look at ways to reduce regulations and lower taxes. You should also encourage investors to build more quality housing and permit the construction of housing that is affordable. However, if you consider the political aspect of rent control, I can’t think of a better way for a politician to gain the appeal of the renting voters, because rent control always sounds so good. Also, landlords should be able to evict a tenant for breach of the contract, period.

    Timothy Terpening | Apr 15th, 2015
  2. ” The city should look at ways to reduce regulations and lower taxes.” Please explain to me how this would help renters? Ok, reduce regulations, build more (sub-par) multi unit housing. Continue to rezone and increase density. Developers win, yes. Property management continues to raise rates as the influx of new commuter renters continues. Tax revenue increases, perhaps? Maybe I’m missing something. Is this a policy or a mantra?

    “Discourage mobility of renters”? 20%, 30%, 40% increases are doing quite well in that regard. I’m not a fan of rent control by any means, but something needs to be done to address this issue before we find ourselves living in a two-tiered city.

    Clay M. | Apr 20th, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.