Richmond Council Rejects Suspending Rent and Mortgage paymentsReturn to Blog
Richmond City Council on Tuesday dismissed an emergency request that would suspend all rent and mortgage payments in Richmond for the span of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place precautions. Alternatively, the city councilmembers cast a vote for protections like the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors announced before Tuesday. The Board of Supervisors passed an emergency law applying to every one of the 19 cities and unincorporated regions, Supervisor John Gioia said in an update.
The law, as indicated by the Supervisor, restricts evictions for default for private and business occupants affected physically or economically by the COVID-19 pandemic; bans "no-fault" evictions "except to protect the health and safety of the owner or another tenant, or to allow the owner or their immediate family to move into the residential unit"; temporarily freezes rent increases, despite the fact that state law keeps the freeze from applying to single-family homes or living arrangements worked inside the most recent 15 years; gives residents affected by the pandemic a 120-day grace period to take care of rent, and cancels late charges for unpaid rent for affected occupants. These principles apply through May 31, except if reached out by the Board of Supervisors. Despite the County ordinance, which can be read in full here, a city can revise and include restrictions protecting renters if it chooses.
Although Richmond Councilmembers Melvin Willis and Eduardo Martinez proposed to suspend all rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place period, the rest of the council voted against the notion, concerned over its legality and the results of accumulating unpaid debt. "We are, in addition, full rent control and just cause city," said Mayor Tom Butt. He called proposals by his colleagues "redundant" and at times "unconstitutional.” “They look at the pandemic as an opportunity to push through egregious legislation that almost totally targets landlords," Butt said. "To them, landlords are fundamentally greedy and evil and need to be totally controlled and punished. I don’t think they grasp the economic reality that makes developers and building owners a critical part of the system that provides housing for everyone." Mayor Butt noted the challenges of homelessness and housing cost in California and believes everyone should share the burden.
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