In response to fears that landlords are trying to push out tenants before new statewide renter protections take effect in January, San Mateo city officials are set to review an emergency ordinance Monday in an effort to help residents facing large rent increases and no-fault evictions.

Councilmembers asked City Attorney Shawn Mason to explore whether an emergency ordinance imposing the “just cause” eviction provision and rent cap consistent with Assembly Bill 1482 could be helpful after a resident told them he had been served with a 60-day notice of termination of his tenancy at their Oct. 21 meeting. The resident believed the eviction notice was delivered in an effort to avoid the impact of AB 1482, and he said no reason was given on the document, which indicated he would need to move out by Dec. 1, according to a staff report.

Assembly Bill 1482 was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 8 and starting Jan. 1, it will prevent landlords from raising rents by more than 5% a year plus the regional consumer price index. The bill had a retroactive clause that caused all rents to freeze to the level they were on March 15, 2019, so any increase now would have to go back to that level come Jan. 1 when the law takes effect, according to the report.

For the next two months, landlords can raise rent by any amount and tenants could be displaced if they cannot afford the increase — what’s often referred to as an economic eviction.

Because there is a vacancy on the City Council and the city’s charter requires emergency ordinances to be approved by a majority of the council plus one, the ordinance must be unanimously approved by four councilmembers to go into effect. If the four officials unanimously approve the ordinance Monday, it will go into effect immediately, according to a staff report.

In August, Deputy Mayor Maureen Freschet announced she would leave the council in November after completing her second four-year term. The council is slated to vote on an appointment to the seat — which is scheduled for election to a four-year term in November of 2020 — at a Nov. 12 special meeting, according to the city.

Redwood City, Daly City and Milpitas are the three Bay Area cities that have established protections for the gap before AB 1482 goes into effect by adopting emergency ordinances. Though Redwood City officials approved “just cause” protections and rent increase limits, Daly City, Milpitas and Los Angeles have adopted ordinances establishing “just cause” protections, according to a staff report.

The council meets 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at City Hall, 330 W. 20th Ave.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

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