Mayor: Richmond rental market cooling ahead of rent control vote

Contra Costa judge to review arguments against Richmond rent control

Mayor Tom Butt,

According to Rent Jungle, the Richmond residential rental market is cooling off, not spiking as rent control advocates would have us believe. The average apartment rent over the prior 6 months in Richmond has increased by $9 (0.4%), less than 1% annualized, and two bedroom apartments have increased by $26 (1.2%), both far less than the 3.1 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index over the past year. One bedroom units in Richmond have actually decreased by $21 (-1.1%)!

Sales prices for home have also leveled off, according to Zillow, which rates the Richmond market as “cold.”

All this just over a month before Measure L, Rent Control hits the ballot in Richmond. It appears that the case for rent control is a little like preparing to fight the last war. The justification for it has gone away, but proponents are still determined to set up a multi-million dollar bureaucracy consisting of dozens of new public employees answerable to no one to limit increases that are no longer happening.

This piece first appeared in Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s e-forum newsletter


  1. If “L” passes it will be bad news for renters, because just case is extremely expensive and landlords will ajust their rents to address the additional cost (all exempt rent control properties) or leave the market all together.

    Levelling is just the edd and flow of the real estate and rental market.
    This would have naturally happened (probably more slowly) without measure L. But
    don’t be fooled rents will continue to rise because of the area, no matter what happens. This measure does not address the housing problem and is a budget buster for the entire city.

  2. Since a large number of “rentals” in Richmond are illegal and off the books (converted garages, sheds, back rooms, houses not declared as rentals, etc), maybe even as high as 30% or more of the residential rentals, I doubt rent control would have much of a benefit for Richmond residents in general, and will more than likely HURT richmond residents with the increase in bureaucratic costs. With almost double the number of employees of any comparable sized city in the Bay Area, Richmond CANNOT afford to increase it’s employee budget.