|The City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to require those who wish to demolish, redevelop or convert low income rental housing to pay displaced tenants' relocation expenses, giving them the cash equivalent of two months' rent.
Work on the ordinance began a year ago as the council wrestled with how to relocate 250 of the city's poorest tenants at 291 Evandale Ave. At that time, the council allowed use of the city's below market rate, or BMR, housing fund, with the stipulation that the fund only be used for those relocating within Mountain View.
So far, 11 of 26 moved tenants have qualified for the program. Many couldn't find another affordable place in Mountain View, while others couldn't provide proof of their low income status.
The city's action Tuesday would provide assistance even for tenants who cannot find homes in Mountain View -- a victory for affordable-housing advocates.
Council member Matt Pear voted for the motion, but expressed concerns about passing costs onto small property owners. The ordinance will affect any property with more than two rental units deemed to be low income housing.
"It's the owners that will be impacted," Pear said. "That element has not spoken. They have no idea what is about to take place."
City attorney Michael Martello said the council could reserve the right to withdraw the requirement on a case-by-case basis.
Also included in the ordinance is another $2,000 to those with special needs, such as children or a disability, plus 180 days notice, full refund of security deposit, 60 day subscription to a rental agency and bilingual assistance if needed. The free last month's rent and $500 moving allowance recommended by staff were not included.
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