The Richmond City Council has approved putting a measure on the fall ballot that, with voter approval, would lower how much landlords can raise rents annually on rent-controlled units.
The Rent Control Amendment for November 2022 measure would change Richmond’s current rental ordinance, which allows landlords to annually raise rents to match any increase in the consumer price index (CPI), which rose 5.2 percent in 2022.
The amendment would cap rent increases to 60 percent of future CPI increases, or a 3 percent rent increase, whichever is lower.
The proposal passed 5-2, with Mayor Tom Butt and Councilmember Nathaniel Bates voting against. Both said they wanted to cap how long the amendment stays in effect, limiting it to two years.
Bates also said he wanted to know why the city would spend tax dollars (between $4,000 and $10,000) to put the proposal on the ballot, instead of the city’s rent board taking it up.
Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin said two years was not enough after COVID-19, record inflation and “it looks like we’re heading into a recession.”
“This is not a temporary situation,” McLaughlin said. “I think we need to move forward with this so we can provide some much-needed stability for renters.”
The election takes place Nov. 8.