Hayward considering social nuisance ordinance

Hayward wants to pass a social nuisance ordinance that would force property owners to be more responsible for their tenants.
October 30, 2013 12:27:07 AM PDT
The city of Hayward is discussing an ordinance that would circumvent the lengthy legal battles it takes to remove tenants that are a chronic problem in neighborhoods.

It took five years of neighborhood complaints and litigation before the city went to the extreme and got a court order to demolish one Hayward house.

"They arrested plenty of people out there; almost everyone there had a warrant," neighbor Rob Mohr said.

Neighbors' complaints ranged from drug use to domestic violence and child abuse and the landlord refused to control it.

Now the city wants to pass a social nuisance ordinance. It would force property owners to be more responsible for their tenants by issuing them warnings and fines of up to $5,000.

"Rather than getting into a big litigation process in the courts, which can be lengthy and difficult," Hayward City Councilmember Barbara Halliday said.

But the rental housing association wants to make sure the city doesn't abuse that power by blaming landlords for everything a tenant does wrong.

"We're very interested in making sure this ordinance does not conflict with any other laws the city has on the books," Rental Housing Association Executive Director Timothy May said.

Vallejo has a similar ordinance and the mayor says it has reduced the number of calls for police at homes with chronic problems.

The Hayward City Council will resume consideration of the ordinance next week.

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