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In what might be one of the most dramatic municipal responses to the evaporation of California’s housing affordability options, the Oakland City Council has voted unanimously to issue a housing declaration emergency and a 90-day moratorium on certain rent increases.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle report, the Council stayed in session from yesterday evening past midnight and took testimony from more than 200 speakers representing residents and property owners. The council cited Trulia data that found Oakland’s median monthly rent was $3,000 per month in February, and many residents addressing the Council session expressed fears of being thrown out of their homes for not being able to cover soaring rental costs. However, the emergency declaration did not include a freeze on evictions, which was part of it original draft resolution, but it did offer a temporary prohibition on rent increases that are not linked to the annual consumer price index.
Councilman Abel Guillen defined the moratorium as a “pause button” that will enable local officials to initiate new housing policies. Guillen cited the introduction of a regulatory oversight on Airbnb and other short-term rental programs as a way to reverse the constriction on Oakland’s housing inventory.