BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer
Palo Alto City Council members are trying to pass an emergency ordinance to deal with the unintended consequences of a new state law that caps rent increases.
The fear is that landlords will evict tenants or raise their rents before the law goes into effect on Jan. 1.
Redwood City has already passed such a law, and Menlo Park is planning to do so on Tuesday.
Council members Lydia Kou and Tom DuBois have asked City Attorney Molly Stump to draft an ordinance that would be voted upon Nov. 18. The proposed ordinance is supposed to be posted online on Nov. 14.
If the council passes the ordinance on an “urgency” basis — which means it will go into effect immediately without a second reading at a subsequent council meeting — it will have to be approved by five of the seven council members, what’s known as a supermajority. Legislation that is passed through the normal procedure needs four votes to pass, a simple majority.
If the ordinance goes into effect Nov. 18, it will be effective for just 6-1/2 weeks, when the state rent cap goes into effect. The law, Assembly bill 1482, was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 7, so it’s unclear why council is only reacting now. Calls to Kou and DuBois were not returned yesterday.
The bill, authored by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, will limit annual rent increases at 5% plus the rate of inflation, which currently comes to about 8%.
Chiu approached Redwood City officials in October and asked them to pass a similar ordinance to deal with unintended consequences in his bill that was approved by the Legislature.