This week, Antioch renters won a robust local rent control policy, a testament to the importance of building renter power to stand up against greedy corporate landlords.
The fight for rent control started more than a year ago and came to a head earlier this summer when tenants at two low-income apartments in Antioch faced rent increases of $500 hundred a month or more. The tenants joined with the East County Regional Group (ECRG), ACCE, Monument Impact, and others to successfully beat back these rent increases, and took their fight to the city to get rent control passed city-wide to prevent unscrupulous landlords from exploiting renters.
On Tuesday night, the Antioch city council chamber was filled with over 100 low-income renters, many of whom shared their stories about unconscionable rent hikes, eviction notices, terrible housing conditions, and management harassment and abuse. Our recent report showed that these housing challenges are widely felt by low-income renters throughout Antioch. The report, written in partnership with ECRG, First 5 Contra Costa, and Healthy and Active Before 5, depicts the housing experiences of over 1,000 Antioch residents gathered by ECRG parent leaders in a community-driven survey:
- On average, survey respondents paid 63% of their monthly income on rent, leaving little for food, medicine, childcare, and other basic necessities.
79% of renters are worried about rent increases, while 68% are worried about being able to pay their current rent.
- One in 5 renters surveyed live in corporate-owned homes, making them more likely to face rent increases, unfair evictions, and harassment by landlords.
- Latino and Black residents and families with young children are hardest-hit.
The report also lays out policy recommendations for permanent tenant protections: rent control, just cause for eviction, and tenant anti-harassment
This victory comes on the heels of renters winning rent control in cities throughout the state – from Pomona to Bell Gardens – and is a testament to the growing power of the renter movement in the face of the increasing number of corporate landlords and decreasing state and federal protections and rental assistance.
This week was a major step forward, but the work continues. In Antioch, we will continue to push to ensure landlords cannot increase rents before the new law goes into effect, as well as to get tenant anti-harassment and just cause for eviction ordinances passed. And we will continue to fight to advance tenant protections throughout the region.
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