Dear Honorable Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett and Petaluma City Council Members:
On June 28, 2021, you voted to make a Just Cause Ordinance a priority for FY 2021. On March 14, 2022, you agreed to make it one of the top ten priorities this year. A draft ordinance has already been presented to you. We urge you to pass a local, Just Cause Ordinance now. There is no time to wait!
In just a couple of months, the Sonoma County Just Cause moratorium on evictions will expire, which will allow the eviction and displacement of vulnerable Sonoma County tenants who are not protected by the state Tenant Protection Act (TPA).
The TPA limits landlords’ ability to increase residential rents and to evict residential tenants without just cause, but it does not protect everyone. It excludes tenants who have lived in the unit less than one year, units less than fifteen years old, and single-family homes with no corporate ownership.
Further, without local Ellis Act protections, tenants are virtually unprotected from abuse of this just cause allowing landlords to remove the property from the rental market. Under the TPA, a landlord can evict a tenant to remodel their unit and the tenant is not allowed to return. Without local protections, tenants will be vulnerable to displacement from the City of Petaluma.
We urge you to act now by adding Just Cause to your May 2nd agenda, and by passing an ordinance that protects tenants against a flood of future evictions when the County moratorium expires on June 30th.
We join in support of simple yet practical guidelines that promote neighborhood and community stability, healthy housing, and affordability for renters by controlling arbitrary evictions to the greatest extent allowable under California law.
As many Petaluma residents potentially face an eviction cliff looming at the end of June, let our city be a beacon for the County by implementing a strong, local Just Cause ordinance this year, as promised.
Dale Axelrod, Chair – Outreach, Advocacy, & Legislation Committee
Sonoma County Democratic Party