For Rent sign

Following the footsteps of other Peninsula cities, Foster City officials will consider passing an urgency ordinance Monday to protect renters facing eviction or large rent increases in anticipation of a new state law taking effect in January. 

Assembly Bill 1482, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 8, will prevent landlords from raising rents by more than 5% a year plus inflation starting Jan. 1. The bill has a retroactive clause that causes all rents to freeze to the level they were on March 15, 2019, so any increase now would be rolled back to that level come Jan. 1 when the law takes effect.

The bill also includes just cause protections for tenants who have lived in their unit for 12 months or more. That means a landlord needs a valid reason, such as failure to pay rent, to evict a tenant. 

But none of those protections are in place in Foster City for the next month and a half. 

Mayor Sam Hindi said he’s heard from several tenants who were recently served 60-day eviction notices in what appears to be an effort by the landlord to avoid the rent caps mandated in AB 1482. 

“[The urgency ordinance] is obviously the right thing to do,” Hindi said. “The holidays are coming and I want to make sure people are not evicted without a cause.” 

On Monday, the City Council will decide if it wants to implement AB 1482 protections retroactive to Oct. 1 of this year. It could pass the just cause protections or the rent cap or both.

Foster City does not currently impose rent limitations or require just cause for the termination of leases. An urgency ordinance requires four votes to pass. 

Other Peninsula cities, including Redwood City, San Mateo and Daly City, have recently passed urgency ordinances after hearing reports of tenants being evicted without a valid reason or being hit with rent increases so large that they had no choice but to leave their home — what’s known as an economic eviction. 

The council Monday will also decide whether to raise the minimum wage faster than the statewide timeline, which brings it to $15 by 2023. The council will also consider launching a community engagement program on housing policies in collaboration with the county’s Home for All effort and adopting a policy requiring the safe storage of firearms in a home.

The meeting will take place Monday, Nov. 18, at Foster City Hall, located at 610 Foster City Blvd. 

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

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