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 Young children at a rally for tenant protections at St. Matthew Church in 2015 hold a sign. 




 
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Rent control initiative heads to November ballot in San Mateo
July 25th, 2016
By Catholic San Francisco


A ballot initiative that would limit rent increases and restrict evictions on multifamily properties in the city of San Mateo appears headed to the November ballot.

 

 

Bay Area Faith in Action announced that the city clerk certified July 18 that enough signatures were gathered to place the initiative before voters Nov. 8. The city council is expected to place the initiative on the ballot at its meeting Aug, 1, the community action group said.

 

 

“We started our effort to bring tenant protections to the city of San Mateo two years ago after witnessing alarming rent increases, mass evictions, and thousands of families facing the threat of displacement,” the group said in a press release. “These past couple months, community members put in thousands of hours into collecting signatures to place renter protections on the ballot. Yesterday we received word that we collected enough signatures to place our initiative on the November ballot!”

 

 

About 10,000 signatures were needed for the ballot measure to qualify, said Aracely Mondragon, community organizer for Bay Area Faith in Action, part of San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action and the PICO National Network. Activists who collected signatures included parishioners at St. Matthew and St. Timothy parishes.

 


The San Mateo city ballot measure is designed to limit annual rent increases to the cost of living, would create a Rental Housing Commission and a process for tenants to appeal rent increases, and protect renters from evictions without cause. The measure would have no impact on a landlord’s ability to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent and other lease violations, according to Faith in Action.

 


Under current law, the owner of residential property in San Mateo may charge any rent they wish for the occupancy of their property and at the end of the lease term or upon giving proper notice, remove a tenant without giving any reason for doing so, the San Mateo city attorney noted in an analysis of the ballot initiative.

 


State law requires that renters for less than a year receive a 30-day eviction notice and those renting for more than a year receive a 60-day eviction notice, Mondragon said.

 


In April, a majority of the City Council rejected a proposal to freeze rents and evictions for 90 days. Shortly thereafter Faith in Action filed to collect signatures for the ballot initiative.

 


Nearly half of San Mateo residents are renters and 42 percent are paying 30 percent of their income in rent while 18 percent are paying more than 50 percent of their income toward rent, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, cited in the ballot initiative.



 






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