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Local measures pass: rent control approved in Richmond, utilities tax continues on Hercules

on November 9, 2022

Richmond voters approved Measure P Tuesday, voting to tighten rent control for tenants.

Under the measure, tenants living in controlled units will experience no more than a 3% increase in their rent and landlords will not be able to raise rents to 100% of inflation, which is the percentage increase in the consumer price index — currently, 5.2%.

The measure won with 56% of the vote. Another measure in Contra Costa County — Measure N, in Hercules, also won by a wide margin.

The high inflation rate has spurred a call for more protection for tenants so they will not bear high rent increases along with the rising costs of goods and services. Measure P prevents landlords from raising rent to more than 60% of inflation. With the median rent in Richmond at about $2,000 per month and nearly half of the city’s households being renters, the measure could have a significant impact on the city’s housing market.

The measure will supersede state law that says rents can’t go up more than 10%, or no more than 5% plus the inflation rate, whichever is lower.

Measure N in Hercules passed with 70% of the vote, reaffirming an 8% utilities tax for essential city services. The tax generates revenue of roughly $3.6 million per year and has ensured financial stability. It was due to expire in 2025, but under Measure N, can continue indefinitely.

Measure N allows for continued funding for neighborhood police patrols, water quality, community services, parks and recreation, and for attracting local businesses. In addition, the city will make investments into the desires and needs of its residents, as determined through a survey earlier this year.

City Council sees the revenue created by Measure N as a key to long-term financial sustainability. Hercules is also in need of vital infrastructure maintenance and improvements, which can be financed through the tax as well.

This story was updated to correct information about the state law.

4 Comments

  1. Jeff Levin on November 9, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Technical correction – state law limits rent increases to the lower of 10% or the inflation rate PLUS 5%, not 5% OF the inflation rate as stated in the article.

    • Christine Schiavo on November 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you, Jeff. I will make that correction.

  2. Anita on November 10, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    Hi Christine, If I got a rent increase notice at the 5.2% rate in October for rent beginning in November and have paid that, is that excess rate to be returned by my landlord?

    • Christine Schiavo on November 10, 2022 at 4:33 pm

      Dear Anita, the last line of the measure says: In the event a landlord issued a rent increase on or after September 1, 2022
      in excess of 3%, that tenant’s rent shall be adjusted to their Maximum allowable rent on
      August 31, 2022, plus three (3%) percent.

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