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The Concord City Council has unanimously voted to adopt a residential tenant anti-harassment protection ordinance.

“The policy is simple: be kind to one another, respect one another, and be fair,” Councilmember Tim McGallian said.

The ordinance prohibits landlords from harassing tenants. It requires landlords to notify tenants about unit renovations, prohibits renovating for the purpose of getting the tenant to vacate, and prohibits landlords from forcing an existing tenant to agree to a new term of tenancy unless the changes are allowed by state law (or at the end of a tenant’s existing lease).

It spells out rules about landlord retaliation, landlords entering units, removing services and misrepresenting conditions to force a tenant to move, giving tenants the right to receive rental receipts and pay through various means.

“If you’re a good landlord and you do things the right way, I believe then you are not going to truly be affected by this.”

Mayor Dominic Aliano

The ordinance also covers what defines a lawful eviction and would require violators to pay fines.

“I heard too many stories of landlords being bad actors, and too many stories of landlords violating the rights that tenants do have,” said Mayor Dominic Aliano. “And yes, I do understand that there are good landlords out there, but we have to discuss implementing something like this to protect our community from certain landlords acting in bad faith.

“If you’re a good landlord and you do things the right way, I believe then you are not going to truly be affected by this,” Aliano said.

The city has been working on the ordinance since June 2021, getting input from the public and the city’s housing and economic development committee.

Tenant rights groups applauded the decision. Concord-based Monument Impact released a statement Wednesday saying Concord will join major California cities including Long Beach, Oakland, Los Angeles, Berkeley and Richmond “to meaningfully address landlord harassment and ensure fairness for tenants.”

“With passage of this ordinance, Concord is one step closer to being a place where immigrants, refugees and low-income neighbors can live in safe, stable homes,” said Debra Ballinger, executive director of Monument Impact.