Potential San Antonio Renters Commission Up for Debate

Updated 2/24/20 City Councilman Roberto Treviño is hosting a Town Hall on Saturday, February 29. We urge everyone to show up and make your voice heard.

When: Saturday, February 29 from 10am – 12pm

Where: San Antonio College, 1819 N Main Ave, San Antonio, Texas 78212

For more info, contact Advocacy@sabor.com.

Posted 1/28/20

In an effort to help a growing portion of San Antonio’s renter population, a Council Consideration Request was filed from Councilman Roberto Trevino for the creation of a Residential Renters Commission. The ordinance has been sent to the Council Subcommittee on Culture and Neighborhood Services. An official Committee meeting date has not been identified.

The creation of the commission would be comprised only of residential renters from different backgrounds to advise the City Council on matters related to affordable housing, transportation, green spaces, land use, renter’s rights/laws, public health and safety, education, economic growth, and life in San Antonio. As it is proposed, no property owners would be represented. Without these interests included, the commission will not have the whole picture when making decisions about issues related to renting. And that could actually hurt affordable housing since decisions this commission makes could make it harder for homeowners to rent their properties, thus reducing the number of quality affordable rental housing units on the market. SABOR also has concerns about the commission and the long term impact the group would have in regards to policy making decisions at City Hall.

The commission would be the first of its kind for a municipality in Texas and would look to model the commission after the City of Seattle’s Renters’ Commission. Since its inception in 2017, the Seattle Renters’ Commission has recommended several anti-landlord and anti-property rights laws to City Council including eviction moratoriums, eviction record forgiveness, rent control, elimination of background checks for tenants, and extension of rent increase notice period by six times the current local standard.

Currently, San Antonio has a total of eight different housing-related boards, subcommittees, commissions and corporations available for renters to get involved with and have their voices heard. These bodies are bound by the Housing Policy Framework strategy which expresses concerns over the redundancy in creating new input boards and commissions which will unquestionably duplicate efforts and create additional bureaucratic delays in implementing successful and meaningful new programs.

The city has proven its commitment to strengthening the connection between the city government and the people as it relates to all types of housing. SABOR agrees with the city’s efforts to find a way to make sure renters’ voices are heard. However, SABOR does not believe the creation of this commission is the way to do that and all of the goals it attempts to accomplish are achievable through other mechanisms the city already has in place.

For more details on the Commission, click here.

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