Disappointed by the City Council's unwillingness to take stronger action, advocates for Mountain View's large tenant population are bringing a rent control measure to voters. A new ballot measure they are submitting for the November election would impose a cap on rent hikes in the city, forcing landlords to keep annual increases in the range of 2 to 5 percent.
The new measure -- dubbed the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment -- comes in response to what many have described as a crisis in Mountain View's rental housing market. In recent months, scores of renters have spoken before the council, pleading for relief from large rent increases that they say are forcing many from their homes.
From 2011 to 2015, average rents in Mountain View increased 52.7 percent, according to a RealFacts market report cited by the Mountain View Tenants' Coalition.
After nearly half a year of debating the issue, a thin majority of the council last month agreed on a package of mediation programs and lease requirements intended to address the problem. While the city's ordinance, if given final approval, would place various new responsibilities on landlords, critics say it missed the fundamental issue by not including any limits on annual rent increases or preventing retaliatory evictions.
The rent control measure from the tenants' coalition would mandate that rent increases stay within the Consumer Price Index, which would likely vary between 2 and 5 percent, the coalition says.
The initiative would also include "just-cause eviction" protections that would allow landlords to evict tenants only for certain reasons, such as failure to pay or criminal activity.
The ballot measure will reportedly be submitted to City Hall by the end of day on Friday, April 1.