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Concord City Council passes rent stabilization ordinance

Tenants, organizers, and supporters of the ordinance rally outside of Concord City Hall before Tuesday's meeting
Wren Farrell
Tenants, organizers, and supporters of the ordinance rallied outside of Concord City Hall before Tuesday's meeting

At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, tenant advocacy groups, tenants, and faith leaders rallied outside of Concord City Hall to express their support for a rent stabilization ordinance.

“After almost a decade of advocacy for tenant protections by Concord Renters Raise the Roof Coalition and allies, the City of Concord will discuss and vote tonight on a possible draft ordinance for rent stabilization and just cause policy.”


Just a few feet away, landlords and those opposed to the ordinance held a separate rally.

“Monkey see, monkey do! That’s what the city council does. Monkey see, monkey do!

“Yes, they do!”

Before long, the groups merged. People started yelling at each other and arguing.

“Well, you know, when I came here 51 years ago—” 

“Yeah. Things were very different, 51 years–” 

“Hell no!” 

“Oh, okay. Yeah, sure. Housing was totally the same.” 

“I couldn’t afford Concord, I had to go live in Shore Acres.” 


“Okay. Yeah. So I worked my a** off —” 

“I bet you did, I'm not denying that. But you — are you really saying 50 years ago was the same as right now? That the housing prices are the same, that affordability is the same?” 

Eventually, the doors to the council chambers were opened and the crowd shuffled in.

The council had to get through a few other agenda items before getting to the ordinance, but once they did, emotions flared. Mayor Edi Birsan had to repeatedly ask audience members to quiet down.

“You should hear the people. We wanna be heard! That's what we're asking for!” 

“And I want you not to be heard right now, so please be quiet, because you —“

“The government works for us!” 

“You are out of order!” *gavel bangs* “And we're taking a 10 minute break.” *gavel bangs*

Once the council reconvened, they started going through the language of the ordinance, line-by-line, debating and re-writing certain provisions.

A little before midnight, the council finally voted.

“Council member Aliano?” 


“Council member Hoffmeister?” 


“Council Member Nakamura?” 


“Vice Mayor Obringer?” 


“Mayor Birsan?” 



In a win for landlords, single-family homes, rented condominiums, and rented accessory dwelling units will not be subject to the ordinance. Landlord occupied duplexes will also not be subjected to rent stabilization or just cause eviction protections.

But, in a win for tenants, multi-family complexes with two or more units built before February 1, 1995 will be subject to a cap on annual rental increases: three percent, or 60 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. It also establishes just cause eviction protections for tenants, which will apply to single-family homes.

The ordinance has to come back to the council for a second reading before it becomes official.

Wren Farrell (he/him) is a writer, producer and journalist living in San Francisco.