by Photo courtesy of the Idea Stream Organization

San Diego City council will vote Monday on a proposed moratorium on “no-fault” residential evictions that would stop landlords from removing a tenant if they want to take the property off the market or make significant repairs. 

This additional measure would allow the landlord to remove a tenant if the owner wants to move back in or move a family member in. The ordinance would require six months' advance notice to be provided to tenants if the owner intends to withdraw the residence from the rental market, and 90-day advance notice of lease termination if the owner or their immediate relative intends to occupy the unit. 

Last week, California extended its state-wide eviction moratorium to June 30, which prevents evicting a tenant because of nonpayment of rent if the hardship is related to COVID-19. The proposal will go before the City Council as an emergency ordinance without first receiving any previous committee hearings. If approved, the ordinance will take immediate effect and remain in place until 60 days following the end of the local state of emergency. 

The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors (SDAR), the largest trade association in San Diego County, expressed opposition to the city-wide measure because "it will reduce housing inventory during a time of record-high costs, perpetuating the housing affordability crisis, and create a clear disincentive for future investment in rental housing".

“It is truly unfortunate that our lawmakers are choosing to circumvent regular order and fast-track a controversial, one-sided proposal without any opportunity for proper deliberation,” said SDAR President Chris Anderson. “This process is clearly intended to silence dissent and is a far cry from the transparency we were told to expect.”

If passed, the measure will constrain supply and result in higher rental costs and an overall reduction in the availability of safe and affordable housing options in San Diego, according to the SDAR in a press release. New risks will be imposed on housing providers who would face difficulty occupying or selling their property. 

“These past two years have been a challenge for both tenants and housing providers,” said Anderson. “What we’ve learned over the course of this pandemic is that the rental housing policies we put in place must remain balanced and must bring both tenants and housing providers together toward a shared goal of expanding the supply of safe and affordable housing options for our San Diego families.”

Anderson continued, “Unfortunately, this proposal will have the opposite effect, which will be felt hardest by the very tenants this ordinance claims to protect along with some of the independent, “mom-and-pop” housing providers who’ve worked to support them throughout the pandemic.” 

Under the proposed measure, terminating the tenancy due to substantial renovations would be limited to only situations in which the work is in response to a government or court order or where an immediate health or safety risk exists. There is no exception in place for terminating a lease for a transaction.

“At some point, lawmakers need to realize that regulations like these will only reduce the supply of housing and drive our independent, “mom-and-pop” housing providers out of business,” said Anderson. “The large-scale real estate investors stand to benefit in the long-term."

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