Alameda Reaffirms Local Rent Control Protections for 150 Rental Units

Published on September 19, 2023

In an important decision following a contested administrative hearing, an Independent Hearing Officer concluded that 150 units of former naval housing in Alameda are subject to the City’s rent control regulations. The Hearing Officer rejected the landlord’s contention that state law (the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act) prevents the City from limiting rent increases for tenants of the Admirals Cove Property.

“The Hearing Officer’s decision affirms what the Rent Program has maintained from the beginning and what courts have held in several cases since the passage of Costa-Hawkins,” said Alameda Rent Program Director Bill Chapin. “Namely, that the legislature intended the limits it placed on local rent control to apply to only newly constructed units that expand a city’s housing stock. The Admirals Cove Property apartments have been used to house members of the Alameda community as far back as the 1960s, and their current occupants are entitled to the full protections of the Rent Control Ordinance.”

The Admirals Cove Property contains renovated townhomes on a 15-acre parcel between Alameda Landing and the Main Street Alameda Ferry Terminal. Comprising 27 four- and six-unit buildings, they were originally constructed in 1969 to house personnel stationed at the nearby Naval Air Station Alameda and their families. In 2017, the U.S. government auctioned the parcel and the vacant buildings. The winning bidder, developer Carmel Partners of San Francisco, renovated the units and began leasing them to tenants in October 2019.

Since September 2019, Alameda’s Rent Control Ordinance has limited rent increases to an annual cap, known as the Annual General Adjustment or AGA, calculated at 70% of the change in the Consumer’s Price Index. As of September 1, 2023, the AGA is 2.9%.

While some provisions of the Rent Control Ordinance, including registration requirements and limits on “no fault” terminations of tenancy, apply to all rental units in the City of Alameda, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prevents local governments from imposing an AGA limit on certain housing units, including units built since February 1995 and units that can be purchased individually, such as single-family homes and condominiums.

“The City of Alameda’s Rent Control Ordinance is a centerpiece of the City’s strong policy of protecting and preserving affordable housing in our community,” said City Attorney Yibin Shen. “The City Attorney’s Office, including the Rent Program, is committed to justly enforcing state and local housing laws and ensuring that Alameda remains a place that people from all backgrounds and income levels can call home.”

Residents of Admirals Cove—or any other rental property in Alameda—who have questions about rent increases they have received may contact Rent Program staff at 510-747-7520 or for more information.


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