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Oakland Approves 90-Day Moratorium On Rent Hikes, Evictions

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Hoping to stem the city's growing housing crisis, the Oakland City Council has approved a 90-day moratorium on evictions and rent hikes.

In a unanimous vote early Wednesday morning after a boisterous city council meeting, officials approved the moratorium that will allow them time to write new policies and regulations to help out renters.

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Mayor Libby Schaaf said one in four residents are in danger of being forced out of their homes. The moratorium freezes evictions and prevents rent increases for the next 90 days.

According to real estate website, rents are already 30-percent higher than they were last year, putting the median rent price in Oakland at $3,000 per month. That's just too much for those who earn minimum wage.

"And that 60 percent of us are renters," said Kitty Kelly Epstein, a tenant who spoke at the meeting. "That's a crisis because there is nothing you can rent in this city if you are making $30,000 a year."

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"People here are basically going to be living out of carts, under freeways. People who work every single day," said Oakland resident Marlina Davis. "This is ridiculous. If you're going to be concerned about other people in other countries and you can't take care of your people that's here now."

The moratorium follows action taken by the council last October, approving funds for a program to educate tenants about their rights. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is frustrated that the money for the program has not yet been released.

Landlords are not happy about the council's decision. Some are calling this "political showmanship" and are threatening to not make any building improvements during these next few months.

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