In February 2019 the City Council directed staff to enter into a contract with the Consensus and Collaboration Program (CCP) based out of Sacramento State University, College of Continuing Education, to engage in an assessment of the current issues facing Santa Cruz Tenants and Property Owners related to rental housing.
The final version of the report may be found here. This item will be presented to City Council at the June 11, 2019 meeting evening session, 7:00 p.m.
See the CCP's scope of work to learn more about the detail of their work. This final scope of work differs slightly from the draft scope reviewed by the City Council in February 2019. The changes are limited to terminology, increasing the number of stakeholder interviews, and slightly increasing the budget for travel costs related to stakeholder interviews. The overall content and goals of the project remain unchanged.
Between December 2018 and February 2019, the City Council made three separate motions directing staff to develop an approach for initiating a community task force focused on rental housing issues facing tenants and property owners. The direction on these three occasions is summarized below:
- Task Force Establishment: Utilize a Task Force model as the primary form of public outreach and engagement to address the issues facing the stakeholders in rental housing;
- Task Force Makeup: Task Force should have representation from all stakeholder groups and have somewhere in the range of approximately 9-14 members;
- Task Force Appointment: Appoint members of the Task Force via a city-wide application process;
- Task Force Charge: Utilize a data driven approach to policy development, resulting in policy proposals that address the needs of both tenants and property owners;
- Task Force Facilitation: Professional facilitation services should be utilized; and
- Timing: Proceed aggressively
December 11, 2018 (Evening Session, Item 4)
MOTION: Councilmember Brown moved, seconded by Councilmember Krohn, to direct staff to come back at January 8th Council meeting with a proposal regarding the resources including funding and staff time for a task force comprised of community stakeholders, including but not limited to, landlords and tenants, regarding policy options around tenant protection from evictions without cause and other relevant measures for the longer term for a 3-month period, and bring to Council an ordinance extending the just cause eviction provisions that the Council adopted on a temporary basis.
ACTION: The motion carried unanimously with the following vote.
Councilmembers Krohn, Mathews, Glover, Meyers, Brown, Vice Mayor Cummings; Mayor Watkins.
January 8, 2019 (Evening Session, Item 1 (portion))
By consensus, the following was provided to staff by Council:
- Provide a robust data analysis and measurement factors
- Consider a blended community process to include mediation and a task force
- Provide experiences of other communities, and determine a menu of approaches which will get narrowed down
- Appoint a smaller task force representing informed community members followed by a facilitated discussion
- Process which is professionally facilitated and resourced with expertise
- Purpose of the committee to identify strategies to protect residents from displacement due to inflationary rent increases and arbitrary evictions, and make recommendations for Council action about the following:
- Formula for protecting landlords’ rate of return on investments through setting annual rent increases to cover inflation and operating costs
- Include definition of nuisance behavior and consequential breaches of rental leases
- Specify terms of no cause eviction
- Identifying potential exemptions
- Enforcement and dispute resolution strategies
- Incentivize landlords to keep rents below market rate
- Costs to put leases and rental agreements online
- Compare and contrast between cities with Just Cause Eviction
- Data associated with rent increases over the past five years
- Comprised of City of Santa Cruz residents
- Seek areas of full consensus
- Include data from UCSC Housing Office
- Ensure representation including, but not limited to:
- At least one nonprofit engaged in housing issues
- Small group, approximately 9 to 11 people, with opportunities for the public to weigh in
- Experts who live in the City
- Brown Act Committee
Staff to include staff costs when proposal is brought back to Council.
Assistant City Manager T. Shull informed Council that the Community Process would return to Council most likely at the February 12, 2019 Council meeting.
January 22, 2019 (Evening Session, Item 25 (portion))
MOTION: Vice Mayor Cummings moved, seconded by Councilmember Brown, to:
- Direct staff to return at the next Council meeting with a proposal to establish a Rental Housing Task Force, which would consist of creating an application for appointment to the Affordable Rental Task Force, recommendations on the composition of, and the charge of, the task force.
- Direct staff to return at the next Council meeting with information leading to a proposal and budget for conducting a community poll so the public can provide information on the issues with the rental housing market problems and possible responses.
- Direct staff to return at the next Council meeting with information leading to a proposal for the Council to collect data on rent increases and evictions occurring in the City.
- Direct staff to return at the next Council meeting with an example flyer to be sent to every City resident and absentee rental property owner that would describe the City’s action to create a citizens’ rental housing task force.
ACTION: The motion passed unanimously with the following vote.
AYES: Councilmembers Krohn, Glover, Meyers, Brown, Mathews; Vice Mayor Cummings; Mayor Watkins