New law protects boat residents from big rent hikes

ALAMEDA

Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a law Sept. 28 that will protect 477 owners of floating homes from sharp increases in the rents they pay for legal berths on San Francisco Bay.

The law’s two main provisions limit annual berth rent increases in Bay Area floating home marinas to 3% plus the cost of living or 5%, whichever is lower, and prohibit marina owners from increasing berth rents for floating homes that are sold. These provisions apply to floating home marinas in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin Counties, where floating homes are concentrated on San Francisco Bay.

The bill was drafted and introduced by Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, and joined as co-authors by Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-Marin-Sonoma, and state Sens Mike McGuire, D-Marin, Sonoma and North Coast, and Nancy Skinner . D-Berkeley. The Marin County Board of Supervisors, Alameda County Supervisor Dave Brown and the mayors of Alameda and Sausalito urged the Legislature to extend, by law, the same rent protections now in place for mobile homeowners in 86 communities in California to floating home owners on the bay . The new law, AB 252 becomes effective Jan. 1.

Bonta’s legislative initiative was sparked by berth rent increases in an Alameda floating home marina earlier this year by as much as 178%. The Alameda City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, moved quickly to include floating homes in the city’s rent control program. The rent increases were demanded by new owners of Barnhill Marina, signaling the arrival of a nationwide trend identified by a Harvard housing study of the American rental housing market in 2022: More than 26% of US rental housing of all types is owned by business entities , not — as once was the case — by individual property owners.

“The Alameda City Council

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