Alameda council promises renters help fighting 75-percent rent hikes - October 7, 1987

Alameda council promises renters help fighting 75-percent rent hikes

By Carolyn Newbergh (The Tribune)
October 7, 1987

ALAMEDA – With as many as 350 households at the low-income Buena Vista Apartments facing steep rent increases just after Christmas, the City Council said last night it will do all in its power to see families aren’t put out on the street.

That primarily includes asking the Beverly Hills owner of the complex to gradually phase in the 75 percent increase set for Jan. 1 in order to reduce the strain on tenants, according to Mayor Chuck Corica.

“I’m not going to say we can get everything for everybody when we negotiate, Corica said during a council meeting break. “But I’m going to try my darnedest to get some help for these people.”

The 615-unit Buena Vista Apartments is the largest privately owned, low-income rental complex in the Eastbay operated for profit. It is also one of the first in the nation where the owners have paid off a 3 percent, 40-year federally insured loan after 20 years, freeing the property from federal regulations that have kept rents low.

The Gersten Co., which owns the apartments, and city officials recently secured rental subsidies for the neediest tenants in the complex, which could be as many as 260 households, according to the city. But officials and tenant representatives say there still is a large number of Buena Vista residents who will not be able to afford the 75 percent rent increase in January and the total 100 percent increase by one year later.

A two-bedroom apartment that now rents for $271 would be $474 in January. The tenants’ plight makes me just ache,” said Council member Rita Haugner. “I would hope there is a way we can do something for you by Jan. 1, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

For the time being, at least, Corica said he did not want to consider a proposal by the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County for a limited for of rent control that might be directed at large complexes facing rent hikes.

To do so at this time would jeopardize a cooperative relationship the city has just established with the Gersten Co. to get rent subsidies, he said.

Corica said previous efforts by other tenants to get rent control adopted at the ballot box have failed because they weren’t able to gather enough signatures for an election.

Source: Newberg, Carolyn, “Alameda council promises renters help fighting 75-percent rent hikes.” Oakland Tribune, 07 October, 1987: D6.