Majority of Concord Residents Live in Fear of Eviction: Report

About 75 percent of Concord residents live in fear of eviction because of the city’s relatively easy eviction policies, according to a new report.

In some cases, families are giving up groceries and medical treatment, just to pay the ever-increasing rent, the report by the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) found.

"There's no rent control here, so the rent can [go higher] or I can just get an eviction notice saying, 'Hey, you know what? You have to move,'" said Concord resident that chose to remain anonymous. "My rent just went up again. I just have to have two jobs. It’s not easy, and I have a kid. So, I have to be a mom after this."

The single mom is among the thousands of Concord residents struggling to keep up Concord’s rising rent.

"We found that there are actually no neighborhoods in Concord that are affordable to families with incomes below $50,000," said Asha Dumonthier from EBASE. "Zero neighborhoods!"

According to the report, one in five renters in Concord already live below the poverty line, and since the city doesn’t have rent control, residents have watched rents skyrocket, in some cases up 63 percent since 2011, something that has residents pushing for rent control.

"Under rent control policies, rent could still be increased by a certain percentage, each year, but rent control really just stops landlords from exceedingly large increases that put family livelihoods at risk," Dumonthier said.

The report also calls for Concord to adopt a "just cause" clause, which means landlords must have a valid reason to evict a tenant.

"There is very strong view that rent control is bad," said Concord Mayor Edi E. Birsan at an EBASE event Thursday.

However some landlords, like Kenneth Kent, say it is possible to support EBASE’s proposals, like rent control, and still make a profit.

"'Just cause' and rent stabilization doesn’t limit my ability to make a reasonable profit," Kent said. "It keeps disreputable landlords from taking advantage of their tenants."

EBASE said that now that they have the data, they will spend the next few months working with city to come up with a more comprehensive plan to keep residents in the homes.

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