Increasing Rent Control

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In Oakland, the current annual maximum rent increase limit is 10%, which cannot be afforded by many, including low income families. This policy adds to homelessness, because renters are constantly increasing rent at an extremely high rate, causing displacement or homelessness.

To solve this, we want to reduce the annual rent increase to the current CPI (Consumer Price Index) plus 3%. We are students, who are concerned about the issue homelessness from  Oakland Technical High School. Homelessness is abundant everywhere, and it is a growing problem. Although we will not be able to solve this problem completely, we would like to decrease the rate of homelessness by adjusting the cause of it, which is gentrification and the rise of prices.

So how would this work? Every year Oakland renters should be limited an annual rent of CPI plus 3%. A renter cannot surpass a 10%, which is the limit. Renters should strictly follow this law.

According to a low income, Oakland tenet, she says,” Where I was living before, my rent would be raised 25% annually.” When asked about whether or not she thought homelessness was a result of rent increase, she responded with, “No doubt, definitely, and I think it is criminal that people are living on the streets over something like this.”

You would think that a high school teacher would have a decent and enough pay to support herself, but her salary has caused her to push her retirement later than she wanted and expected. She claims that half of her monthly income goes to rent, which is very upsetting. The gentrification in Oakland has given her no choice but to move when she retires. Even though the limit for rent increase is 10%, the renter went over by 15%, which goes against the rent control law - proving how this new law should be more strictly enforced.

We also interviewed a current homeless individual in Oakland. He gave insight as to how rent increases put him into his current situation. He stated that he was evicted because he was unable to pay for the rent with the job he had after the increase. “My rent increased from 1,350 to 1,500 and couldn’t make those payments with the job that I had...” he said. The current rent control laws allow property owners to abuse their power displacing many in hopes of more profit. We need to address this issue to stop pushing people out on the street.

A Huffington Post written by Harry Bradford, wrote about how Washington D.C. has a 8.4% of a poverty rate lower than the national average of 15.1% in the United States in 2011. Through further research on Washington D.C.’s annual rent control increase on the official government website, the increase wouldn’t be the CPI’s percentage plus 2% without exceeding a 10% increase. Those who are decided as elderly or disabled has an annual increase of CPI’s percentage without exceeding 5%. As you can see, Washington D.C. has a low annual rent increase that causes the low poverty rate. It is possible to lower Oakland’s poverty rate and homelessness’ amount if Oakland’s rent control changes to the amount of CPI plus 3%. We are adding 3% so the change would not be too dramatic.

Thank you for taking your time to read our petition. We believe that we can resolve this issue with your support. It would be extremely helpful if you would sign our petition!