Making It in the Bay

Oakland Landlords to Be Able to Raise Rent Up 6.7%, Highest Jump in City's History

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One of the largest cities in the Bay Area is facing a sharp rent increase and some local leaders are fighting back, saying the timing is terrible.

But property owners say the price hike is necessary because they, too, are facing rising costs.

Oakland housing regulators say starting in July, landlords will be able to raise rents by up to 6.7% -- the highest one-year jump in the city's history.

"We are going backwards, the wealth gap between rich and poor is growing," said Councilmember Carroll Fife.

She said the timing of the increase is all wrong with inflation, COVID, and economic concerns hitting so many renters who already pay one of the highest per square foot housing rates in the country.

Fife also put forward a proposal to limit rent increases.

"I do want to create some security for renters,” she said. “Oakland is a majority renter city, over 60% of the residents of the city of Oakland are renters, and it doesn't make sense to put them in this type of jeopardy."

But property owners here say their costs are going up, too.

"You also have a housing stock that's older, that really needs a lot of maintenance," said Derek Barnes, CEO of the East Bay Rental Housing Association.

He added that the owners his group represents are also being hit by inflation, but on different goods and services.

"There has also been an extraordinary increase in everything: water, gas, electric, sewer, repair services, equipment, appliances, plumbing,” said Barnes.

NBC Bay Area’s Business and Tech Reporter Scott Budman follows the housing market closely and has the breakdown.

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