This guest blog by noted Tenants’ Rights activist, James Vann, is in reference to a proposed program loosely defined in Council Member Lynette McElhaney’s press release, the body of which is posted below the column. I have edited his piece for brevity and clarity.
Here’s some background on the origin of this funding [estimated at $300k] which will provide loans to landlords who evict long-term tenants. These are tenants who now have the right to relocation fees due to the hardship of displacement. I’ll leave it up to the reader as to what extent this funding redefines spin, irony and general what-the-heckism?!
City Council Member McElhaney Advances a Landlord-Written Tenant-Eviction Plan Funded by State Anti-displacement Grants
Press Release: “Committee Strengthens Anti-Displacement Efforts”
“McElhaney and Kaplan Advance Amendment to Help Low-Income Owners Support Tenant Relocation
On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Committee unanimously approved the establishment of a city loan program to help distressed low-income homeowners advance required tenant relocation funds. Under the amendment advanced by Councilmembers Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Rebecca Kaplan, the City will make available no interest loans to fund required tenant relocation payments for cash-strapped homeowners seeking to return to their homes. To qualify, owners must meet a strict set of criteria including:
- Own 5 or fewer units
- Be low-income or have less than 6 months of financial reserves
- Be denied a cash-out refinance loan on their property, and
- Certify that the relative moving in is also low or moderate income and does not own any other real estate
“This is common sense anti-displacement legislation that helps preserve the social and economic diversity of home ownership in our City, especially of African American and other low income legacy owners,” said Councilmember McElhaney. “This is about addressing all sides of the displacement issue and not creating pressure on legacy owners to sell the homes they want to return to.”
This past January, the City Council amended the Uniform Residential Tenant Ordinance requiring that tenants who are evicted for an owner or relative move in receive relocation payments. Payments range from $6,500 for a studio or one-bedroom unit to $9,875 for a three or more bedrooms. These payments may pose a hardship for low income and low asset owners, especially those who need to recover possession of their homes to support themselves or relatives.
The Ordinance will be heard by the full City Council at its next meeting on July 10. ”