Just Cause and Fair Rent
Over 50% of Richmond residents are renters. Richmond residents are experiencing a regional economic and housing crisis that includes high and increasing prices on rental housing, wages that are not keeping pace with inflation, and a shrinking supply of affordable housing. Many renters, including working families, seniors, and those on limited or fixed incomes, are getting pushed out of the community in search of more affordable housing alternatives. Meanwhile, profit serves as an unchecked incentive to evict good, responsible tenants from not only their homes, but in many cases, the community. Our vision is for Richmond to continue to grow as a diverse, sustainable, safe community for everyone. Basic protection for renters from unfair evictions is a necessary step towards this vision. Urban Habitat recently completed a research paper analyzing data on the housing crisis and its impact on Richmond renters, as well as, community solutions and a point-by-point response to the arguments being raised by opponents of Just Cause.
Guiding principles and key elements of the Just Cause and Fair Rent Ordinance:
Safe, decent, healthy, and affordable housing is a basic human need and right. Every person has a right to have safe, decent, healthy and affordable shelter. Profit should not override basic human rights.
Richmond residents who rent housing, (tenants), just as homeowners, are valuable, productive contributors to the well being of our community. Just Cause and Fair Rent Protection affirms the social and economic value that tenants contribute to our communities and their rights to basic protections to be able to continue to live and contribute to our community.
Just Cause and Fair Rent Protection will define fair reasons for evictions. This benefits tenants and owners, and the community as a whole. It clarifies our community's values of fairness, a vision for partnership and equity between tenants and owners.
A Just Cause and Fair Rent Protection affirms and seeks to strengthen the legal rights and laws that already exist for tenants through compliance and enforcement of those laws. There must be more effective monitoring and enforcement bodies, with community representation, to ensure our laws and rights are being upheld for everyone.
A Just Cause and Fair Rent Protection intends to protect those people and parts of our community who are disproportionately vulnerable to the negative impacts of unfair evictions, including families with children, the elderly, people with disabilities, immigrants, non-English speakers, people with low or fixed incomes, and factors such as race and sexual orientation.
The Richmond Initiative Partners identified Just Cause as a priority campaign because it addresses one of the most fundamental needs in the community. Our campaign goals include:
To pass the Fair Rent Ordinance which will help stabilize housing costs by limiting rent increases to one per year and tying increases to the rate of inflation.
To establish a tenants’ rights organization that will provide oversight and monitoring of the Ordinance.