Contra Costa judge to review arguments against Richmond rent control

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Richmond’s rent control law remains in effect.

A Contra Costa Superior Court judge said she’ll need a few days to review arguments made in court Wednesday morning before deciding whether Richmond’s rent control law should be halted, according to a report from the California Apartment Association (CAA).

CAA, which represents landlords, filed the lawsuit against the city and has requested a preliminary injunction to cease enforcement of rent control in Richmond.

Judge Judith S. Craddick heard arguments from the CAA calling the city’s ordinance, Measure L, unconstitutional. CAA’s legal challenge can be viewed here.

Leah Simon-Weisberg, legal director for tenants advocacy group Tenants Together, has called CAA’s lawsuit frivolous. She said the city’s rent control ordinance is modeled after existing laws that were already found to be constitutional.

Measure L was passed by the city’s voters in November.

The rent portion of the law rolled back rents to July 2015 and limits their annual increases moving forward to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index. It applies to about 10,000 units in Richmond, and, per state law, exempts single family homes, condos or units constructed after Feb. 1, 1995.

The just cause for eviction portion of the law applies to all rental units in Richmond. The law requires landlords to have a “just cause” to evict a tenant — such as failure to pay rent — whereas previously none was needed.

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