At the start of the new year, several new renters’ protections will be mandated statewide. The city of Half Moon Bay is also enacting its own protections, by requiring landlords of certain rentals to offer a 12-month minimum lease.

The city will require landlords to offer a year lease to a first-time tenant. It also creates a city-funded mediation program.

“I do not see this as intending to hurt landlords,” Councilwoman Debbie Ruddock said. “… The state and the city have struck a good balance.”

While the state approved Tenant Protection Act, which sets rent caps for a variety of rentals and outlaws no-cause evictions, the city’s law will better ensure tenants qualify for these protections. Under the state law, tenants must occupy a residence for more than a year to be protected.

Single-family homes not owned by a real estate investment trust or corporation, units built within the last 15 years, short-term rentals and accessory dwelling units would not be covered by the city’s ordinance. A landlord-tenant meditation service will also be city- funded. City staff will retain judgment to determine whether mediation is likely to produce a productive outcome. A third-party mediator will provide the services.

The City Council met at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the Ted Adcock Community Center. Mayor Harvey Rarback, Councilmen Robert Brownstone and Adam Eisen, and Councilwomen Debbie Ruddock and Deborah Penrose were in attendance. The council:

Announced: Adam Eisen would serve as the new mayor and Robert Brownstone as the new vice mayor for 2020.

Approved: a $300,000 loan for Abundant Grace Coastside Worker to purchase the property located at 515 Kelly Ave. The local nonprofit, which employs homeless people in a variety of programs, is in the process of securing the building to build a workforce development center. The money for the loan comes from the city’s affordable housing funds.

The loan is contingent on Abundant Grace adhering to various restrictions, including building fencing around the entire property, installing security cameras and lights and prohibiting overnight sleeping at the facility.

Additionally, the city can demand a report from Executive Director Eric DeBode at any time. The city will also perform an annual review of the project.

“When this first came out it felt rushed,” Councilman Adam Eisen said. “… Eric’s outreach has been fantastic. Thank you for doing the work on that, we came a long way with the agreement.”

Voted: 5-0 to extend an interim urgency ordinance by an additional 10 months and 15 days that changes zoning on a four-block stretch of Main Street to encourage more retail and restaurants.

“The Planning Commission and City Council have been talking about revitalizing downtown for a long time and there has been a lot of time for public input,” Councilwoman Debbie Ruddock said in favor of the ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, restrictions are now in place on uses for the storefronts in the 300, 400, 500 and 600 blocks of Main Street. The city is hoping to attract businesses with “active” uses for the first-floor storefronts, such as retail shops or restaurants.

“We are trying to bring housing downtown and this will help with the vitality,” Ruddock said.

Unlike other city ordinances, an “urgency interim ordinance” required a fourth-fifths super majority to pass and it went into effect immediately. After one year, the council can vote to extend it for additional 12 months.

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