Foster City officials have struck a verbal agreement with the owner of an affordable housing complex that would allow about 74 tenants facing displacement to stay in their homes for one additional year.
The tenants, which include low-income seniors with disabilities and families, faced displacement from their homes at Foster’s Landing Apartments by the end of this year. They may now be able to stay in their homes at least through December of 2021.
“The most important thing is to give peace of mind to these folks. I can’t imagine the stress they’re under,” said Councilman Sam Hindi. “It’s very hard to move now with the pandemic and everything going on.”
Hindi noted city staff are still vetting the terms of the agreement that would then need council approval before becoming a done deal.
Located at 700 Bounty Drive, Foster’s Landing Apartments is owned by Essex Property Trust, which entered into agreement with the city in 1986 to rent 15% of the 490 units in the complex at below-market rates for a few decades.
That deal is now expiring in phases, which means the below-market rental rates by the end of the year will rise to market rates. For some residents, that means a rent hike from as little as $500 per month to as much as $2,300 per month — far more than they can afford.
Several tenants spoke about their situation at a meeting Monday before they were aware of the potential one-year extension on the rent hike.
“If there is no solution, I’m going to find myself at the end of this year in the streets. This is the reality,” said tenant Abder Rahim, who said he suffers from a disability and lives in the complex with his three children and only Social Security income to support them. “I’m doing my best to look for another place, but there is no way. I keep applying and there is no way.”
Matt Cohen said his “extremely low-income” 90-year-old grandparents who’ve lived in the complex for 20 years are in a similar position.
“All they want to do is spend the rest of their lives in Foster City, but unfortunately it looks like it’s not going to happen at this point,” he said. “Everyone they know is there, their doctors are there, their caretakers are there. There’re no other options for them.”
Hindi said the affordability covenant for the complex will still expire by the end of this year and rents will go to market rates, but Essex and the city will split the difference between the current and market rates. The residents for the next year will continue to pay exactly the same rent they’re paying now, he confirmed.
The additional year will allow tenants more time to find a new home and staff more time to assist with the process.
The city over the summer put out a request for proposals from tenant relocation providers to help the tenants, but a contract has not yet been signed.
Staff expects the services to cost roughly $250,000 though Essex has agreed to cover half of the cost, bringing the city’s total to $125,000. The money will be allocated from affordable housing funds.
The council will consider the extension on the below-market rate rents in October.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102