News

Much-criticized mediation program wins council approval

Rental-housing dispute resolution oordinance goes into effect in late May

In a 4-3 vote, the Mountain View City Council gave the final nod to an ordinance creating a mandatory-mediation program for the city's rental housing despite many misgivings from its own supporters.

While critics blasted the new ordinance as ineffective, the approving majority stressed that it was more important to establish a program -- even an imperfect one -- so it could begin helping renters.

The approval on Tuesday, April 26, was the second reading of the city's Rental-Housing Dispute Resolution Program, the city's answer to longstanding tenants' demands for some form of relief from soaring rents. The ordinance, set to take effect on May 26, will mandate a mediation process, if requested, for renters and landlords for any rent increases beyond a 7.2 percent threshold.

That process would include three separate stages of discussions, each meant to broker a compromise between the parties. While landlords would be obligated to attend, they would not be required to reach any resolution, leading some to question whether the process was doomed to fail.

"There are no teeth in this," said Councilman Lenny Siegel, a vocal opponent. "I don't know why any tenant facing a rent increase of 5 percent, or even 20 percent would seek mediation knowing there's no way the landlord can be forced to protect them from displacement."

In March, city staff had presented plans for a three-stage mediation process that would culminate, if mediation was unsuccessful, in binding arbitration with a third party. But facing a fierce backlash from landlords and their advocates, the council lost confidence in the program, which some began describing as tantamount to rent control. A council majority coalesced around the idea of making the arbitration step non-binding, leaving it up to landlords to decide whether to notch down their rent increases.

Final approval of the ordinance was on the agenda last month, but with the absence of Councilman Mike Kasperzak, the council was stuck in a 3-3 stalemate.

On Tuesday, Siegel pulled the rental program ordinance approval from the consent agenda so that the council could have a full discussion of it, and some council members laid out their concerns. Councilman Ken Rosenberg, who supported nixing binding arbitration, tried to persuade his colleagues to abandon the rest of the ordinance. A better plan, he suggested, would be to amend the city's tenant relocation program to penalize property owners who displace renters.

"I'm not a believer in rent control, but that doesn't mean I'm going to take a laissez-faire attitude," he said. "This is a vote that should be somewhat embarrassing."

That comment seemed to irk Councilman John McAlister, who said he had his own qualms with the program but felt it was better than any alternative that would take months to research and draft. He pointed out that the city's rental program would impact all apartment complexes with three or more units in Mountain View, whereas a policy that imposed any type of rent cap would be limited under state law to only apartments built before 1995.

McAlister's main grievance was the 7.2 percent threshold -- an amount originally proposed by Rosenberg -- which he felt was too high. He suggested the council should pass the ordinance with the plan to eventually lower that amount.

"If we pass this, we get something on the books in 30 days, if we don't do anything we have to wait until November," he said. "Let's get something on the books, and let's work it some more."

Kasperzak, McAlister, Chris Clark and Mayor Pat Showalter voted in favor of the ordinance.

At the end of the meeting, McAlister proposed a future agenda item to amend the threshold amount, but four council members wouldn't support it. Council members Kasperzak and Clark pointed out that the council previously had long deliberations and a series of votes to try to ascertain an appropriate amount. It was unnecessary to debate it again, they said.

"We do not have four votes for rent control; we don't have four for binding arbitration. So do we keep spinning our wheels?" Clark said. "We need to pass what we feel and get something on the books that I think will have some impact."

Exactly what that impact will be remains to be seen. Local attorney Gary Wesley repeated a warning he has made at recent meetings that the new ordinance could create a perverse incentive for landlords to evict tenants rather than deal with a lengthy mediation process. The city attorney had dismissed these concerns, saying the ordinance language was broad enough to cover these cases.

Project Sentinel, the organization in charge of the new mediation system, is expecting to spend $110,000 to hire new staffing to administer it. That cost will be recouped from a new $7-per-unit surcharge on all apartments. Meanwhile, Mountain View is planning to spend $70,000 on a campaign to educate affected tenants and landlords about the new program.

The city is preparing a data-collection effort to track participation in the new program and gauge its success. Speaking after the meeting, Project Sentinel officials said they are still working out what information could be publicly released, given the confidentiality requirements attached to mediation and arbitration.

Perhaps the most telling response to the council's action will come this November: If a planned community ballot initiative qualifies for the ballot, voters will decide whether to cap rent increases at a level no higher than the regional Consumer Price Index.

Siegel announced on Tuesday he would be supporting the measure. Meanwhile, Showalter, a supporter of the city's new mediation program, said she intended to meet with tenants' advocates to see if some compromise could avert a voter referendum. There's not much time left to do so, she admitted, since proponents have already begun collecting signatures they need to qualify the initiative for the ballot.

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Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 28, 2016 at 2:06 pm

City Attorney Jannie Quinn apparently made a point of never claiming in public that the ordinance language would protect tenants from preemptive eviction. In fact, she told me that she did know know the City Council (majority) wished to go that far. The language does not outlaw preemptive eviction at all. And the four councilmembers who voted for the ordinance knew full well that they were providing a giant loophole for landlords to get rid of existing tenants and get new ones at whatever rent the market will bear. That is precisely why these four (Kasperzak. McAlister, Showalter and Clark) ignored my repeated requests to at least place on the agenda a consideration of tenant protection from preemptive eviction. These four councilmembers were screened and endorsed as candidates by landlord groups i.e., the "Mountain View Housing Council" or the "Tri-County Apartment Association." Whatever one thinks of rent or eviction restrictions, most voters surely agree that councilmembers should at least be honest about what is being proposed for Council adoption.


28 people like this
Posted by Can I Haz Cheese
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm

I'm tired of paying high prices for cheese. I am entitled to low cheese prices. Let's make a law forcing the evil cow owners to lower the price of cheese. Happy renters want happy cheese.


13 people like this
Posted by john
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 28, 2016 at 7:59 pm

hi ...

there are a lot of renters of mobile homes in mountain view ...

i don't mean owners of mobile homes who rent their spaces ...

i mean actual renters of the entire mobile home from the park
owner ...

i am one of them ...

my rent has increased over 50% the last 3 years

will this law help us ?? renters of mobile homes ?


5 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm

The last post is not responsive to my post - but evidently related to the general topic of landlords and tenants. And the poster makes a strong case. All of us need some cheese over our heads, and $3,000 per month for a small slice is alot to pay. I guess that pretty well ends the debate! Darn those landlords are smart. Question the effect and fairness of a steep residential rent increases and some landlords will just smile - saying "cheese."


5 people like this
Posted by Mark Noack
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2016 at 10:34 pm

@john

Thanks for asking this - I forgot to touch on this in my story.

The proposed ballot measure won't impact mobile homes. People with the Mountain View Tenants Coalition tell me their ballot initiative was drafted only for renter-landlord law. Mobile homes fall under a different set of laws.


3 people like this
Posted by @John @Mark Noack
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2016 at 6:27 am

@John, can you provide evidence that your mobile home rent has gone up 50% over the last 3 years? @Mark Noack, if that's really happening, then residents like him are who really needed public attention and help, since he can't just pick up his home and move. Many of our city's senior citizens live in these mobile home parks.


5 people like this
Posted by Mark Noack
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Mark Noack is a registered user.

Yeah, it's not a good time for many of Mountain View's long-term mobile-home owners. We ran a story a few weeks ago about these concerns...

Web Link

Since that story was published, I've been hearing about a growing demand among mobile-home owners for some kind of rent control. Recently, they've organized some discussions with the Tenants Coalition on this, but it's likely too late to do anything for the November election.


89 people like this
Posted by henryinmv
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 29, 2016 at 9:21 pm

henryinmv is a registered user.

I MADE A BIG MISTAKE AND SIGNED THIS RENT CONTROL PETITION.

Original thread here: Web Link


I went to the park last Sunday to listen to these people, they only talked about putting a cap on rent increases, nothing else.
Signed without reading, my mistake.

I came to this site a few days ago and I read about a new rent board to be created as part of this petition. I said to myself what is that?
So I went back and read the entire article and sure enough there is this,

"Overseeing this process would be a new "Rental Housing Committee," a five-member panel appointed by the City Council that would be in charge of setting allowable rents or making new regulations. The initiative would also include "just-cause eviction" protections, with a set of criteria for when landlords can evict tenants, such as failure to pay, causing a nuisance or criminal activity."

This would create a new board that no one resident in this city can vote for or against, with THE POWER TO MAKE LAW AND CHANGE LAWS as they see fit.

Why can you people who wrote this petition, state what other laws you want now? This is no longer about just capping rents but something far more.

I then researched what some here in this thread have said about other rent boards that are in the Bay Area, about denying landlords the right to evict criminals from their property, and sure enough there are articles of the San Francisco rent board denying landlords this right to evict them. So much so that it also states that most landlords do not even try anymore to evict these people.

I am against bringing these policy's to our city.

This petition needs to clearly spell out NOW, what ALL NEW LAWS they want so people can make an informed decision. I say absolutely NO to any new rent board to be created here.

I was misled into what I was signing and if anyone knows how to remove my name from this petition, please post it here.

Thank you.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2016 at 1:11 am

@ Henry In MV. There probably is a way to withdraw your signature. Look it up in the state Elections Code. But you will not be able to withdraw your signature if you did not sign and are really just an opponent of the initiative. Post your real name and address and I will look up the law and cite it on this thread.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2016 at 6:31 am

It appears that the person using the name "Henry In MV" is just an opponent of the initiative and of any restrictions on landlords. As such, it seems unlikely that he or she signed the initiative petition by mistake. However, answering the question about withdrawing a signature, it is done by filing a written request to withdraw one's signature with the local elections official (here, the city clerk). CA Elections Code sections 9264 and 9602.


84 people like this
Posted by henryinmv
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 30, 2016 at 9:41 am

henryinmv is a registered user.

Gary, Stop it, Stop it.

You are probably someone that I spoke with at the park. Not once did you or anyone else mention anything about a new rent board. I now do not believe any of the story's that I was told as to what you claim that is going on.

Fact: This petition is not about just capping rent increase to CPI.

Fact: This petition, if voter approved in November, would set up a new UN-elected rent board where they alone will have sole power to make new law and change law. That also includes if they decide to deny any rent increases at all or, they will decide if any criminal's be allowed to be evicted, just like San Francisco, and lots more. Voters can not vote out any member of this board if we do not like what they are doing.

You want me to post my personal information here!
Are you serious?
You wrote in the other thread that,

"In addition, proponents should let voters know that the identity of signers of the petition will not (lawfully) be disclosed."

You have one proponent for rent control write to someone on the other side

"to leave and go back to Mississippi"
Another wrote,
"we can do this because we are Liberals, we have the numbers on our side and we can"
Another wrote,
"we do not care if we put mom and pop businesses, out of business"
And others are being called "Racist"

First, you do not tell me what's in this petition, now you want my name and address, why? so you can show up at my home and explain things to me?
You said in the other thread that you are not part of this group, how would you get access to the petitions that have been already signed?

If you have any honesty you would tell everybody what is in this petition and the power that this new rent board will have.

Why don't you post all the new laws in the petition that you want to begin with? That way voters will know what they are voting for and that there will be no "I did not know they could do that" after the election.

I will call the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Monday.


105 people like this
Posted by Yes!
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

Good for you Henryinmv! This whole petition scares the crap out of me. The second I read that they've gotten enough signatures to put out for a vote will be the day I contact landlord groups and offer to run a campaign against it. I'd need a bit of funding for signage but I've got a ton of volunteers to table at shops and stores to make sure people are aware of the full ramifications of this outrageous proposal. And Facebook is in amazing tool to get the message out.


86 people like this
Posted by The real Gary
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 30, 2016 at 11:41 am

Obviously Gary is a strong proponent of the ordinance. Its also obvious his lack of economic thinking skills and his preference for more government bureaucracy make his measure very harmful for most of Mountain View residents. His failure to understand simple market concepts and the impact of price controls are stunning. No where does he provide a legitimate economic justification for local government to interfere with the rental market. Landlords and tenants can enter into ST or LT agreements. Just like a tenant can leave at will (assuming he fulfills his side of the contract), so should a landlord be allowed to end a lease agreement.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2016 at 11:44 am

No make-believe "Henry." I was not at the park and am not involved with the petition
But you appear to have signed nothing. I told you in my post exactly how to withdraw your signature from an initiative petition. You file a written withdrawal with the city clerk. But you did not even notice or acknowledge what I wrote as you next wrote back that you would be contacting the county Registar of Voters about who knows what!


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm

One more thing make-believe "Henry": If you ever do see the initiative petition, at least read the title and summary prepared by the city attorney before you sign or decline to sign. I have not seen the petition myself but know the title and summary is required and surely there in large print.


70 people like this
Posted by henryinmv
a resident of North Whisman
on May 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm

henryinmv is a registered user.

UPDATE:

I called the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters office today.
To withdraw my signature from this petition, I have to go to the Mountain View City Clerk's office and go thru their procedure to withdraw my name.

What is so troubling to me is the fact that the proponents of this initiative are not even bringing up, or even willing to talk about this new UN-elected 5 panel rent board. If anyone brings up issues against this, they are called names, trying to distract from what this initiative says and what it will do.

There are legitimate issues that both sides have, but the people who put the initiative together should have clearly stated all the new laws they want now. It appears to me that they must want dramatic changes for them to put together this new UN-elected rent board and to not post what they want now.

Another very troubling item for me is what Angel S. posted on March 20th, 2016 in this thread,

Web Link

Posted by Angel S.
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 12:00 am
"As part of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, I'm very happy with the outcome."

Further down the post, he tries to answer some questions,

5- Do you acknowledge that there was a case in San Francisco where a landlord had a drug dealer living in his building, rent board would not allow landlord to evict him, then other tenants sued landlord? It was in all the papers when it happened. The police can not evict tenants, you should know that.

"A- Yes, the landlord went about that eviction all wrong. On any contract or lease there's a clause that explains what you are and aren't allowed to do in the property. Illegal activity always terminates the contract. From that point on, it becomes tresspassing, or failure to vacate... in both cases, the police can intervene and "

6- What would you do when you have to refinance your loan, and the banks underwriters says you have to raise the rents $400 on everyone to qualify?
Would you do it? if you won't, you will loss your building.

"A- If the landlord is interested in keeping their building and the tenants want to keep their apartment, a partnership sounds tome like the best solution. Both tenants and landlords could make a case to city government , to subsidize those who are interested in helping the community achieve affordable housing goals. A fund could be set to help those landlords keep their building, while at the same time, diminishing the rent increase for those tenants. Win win."

7-I new the people who where the owners at 2235 California St. They lost $8 million dollars in 4 years, from 2000 thru 2004. Will you pay them back for the money they lost? if not, who will? The other person I new who lost his building in 2005, the bank went after everything he owned to cover the losses on the loan. Will you pay him back?

"A- Are tenants getting a share from landlords profits? How does that even make sense?
No, we shouldn't "pay them back". It sounds a lot like the bank bailouts... What we need to do is to rethink the industry. It should be much more than just "owning buildings" and "making money". Let's make it a community oriented industry.
If we do a good job we could end the eviction of families, and the losses of those who invest in such a necessary product."

These answers and thought process by someone who says he is apart of the "Mountain View Tenants Coalition" should be ringing the alarm bells. It shows that they have no practical solutions to address this issue and no understanding how business needs to work so they can stay in business.

We currently have laws that protect people from retaliation and discrimination. They want to take these issues out of the courts and have the new, UN-elected rent board to make these decisions. Some will say that it will be one sided like the San Francisco rent board.

There needs to be a fair process for both sides. Issues for landlords have to be addressed so they can pay their bills, qualify for re-financing loans, and be able to get thru recessions when they do not have income to pay bills.

Tenants need to know that there are existing laws that already protect them, perhaps a website where to post what landlords do regular and large rent increases, and perhaps the new mediation program being set up now can take information from tenants who claim to be treated illegally-they could make some calls to confirm if true, then also provide this information to the city council.

This petition has been written from the proponents point of view only. This is not a fair process for both sides.

Apartment buildings built after 1995 are not even allowed to have rent control placed on them, per state law.

Landlords are the minority in our city, that does not mean they should have rights taken away from them. No other business is treated that way. We do not treat any minority group that way.

I will oppose this initiative-measure because of all the unanswered questions, and the changes that it is asking for.

We vote on our city council members, we do not have any board in our city government that has the power to make and change law, and we should not start now. If residents disagree with the new laws that come out of this board, voters have no right to vote out board members.

It is my hope that everyone will copy this post and send it to all residents of our city, and ask that they forward it on. Everyone needs to know and understand whats in this. They can decide for them self's what they want to do.

If this becomes a measure on the ballot, someone please post what groups will be against it, I will volunteer my time as well


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Good for you "Henry." Campaign all you like. And to think that you actually claimed (on posts above) to have signed the initiative petition by mistake! You might want to use a different name. "Henry" has no credibility.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2016 at 10:32 pm

Hey "Henry" Have you obtained a copy of the proposed law to see what it actually provides?


6 people like this
Posted by WhatHappensNow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2016 at 11:39 pm

I live in an 15 unit apartment complex in Old Mountain View -- it isn't a Prometheus managed property, but some similar (maybe slightly less cutthroat?) company.

Every year for the past 5 years, my rent has gone up by more than 7% when it came time to renew my annual lease. A few times it was 8% or a "round dollar amount" (like $100 or $125) -- last two years it has been 10% on the nose (so its no longer a round dollar amount, the increase was "$178.50" when the monthly rent was $1785).

Every year I send a letter with the lease renewal asking them to reconsider the increase (given that I always pay on time, treat their property with respect, and never make a maintenance request). Their response has always been to waive the increase for 2 months of the new lease as a gesture of good-will -- but the rent has always gone up due to the "rising market."

What happens now? My rent is still going to go up 10%, right? Or next time is it going to be 10% plus $7 for the fee they have to pass along?

What's the point of meeting with property management -- their job is to convert a commodity (apartment rentals) into as much money as they can, right? If I meet with them and say, "hey, I only got a 3% raise this year -- can you only limit the rent increase to 3% instead of 10%?" I'd expect them to laugh and say "sorry, friend -- the market has gone up 10%."

Is this "mediation program" really going to have property management agreeing "oh, you're a good tenant -- 3% is enough of an increase" during these meetings? Sounds unrealistic to me.

Thanks in advance for your explanations! If its going to save me money, I'm happy. If it's just going to waste my time (and the landlord's time), that'll be a bummer.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 3, 2016 at 6:19 am

Mandatory rent mediation (when rent is raised over a certain percentage) carried the hope that landlords would tend to hold down rents for continuing tenants; however, the deliberate failure of the landlord-endorsed City Council (majority) to outlaw evictions motivated by the simple desire to get new tenants at whatever rate the market will bear has made the ordinance far worse than nothing. The mediation ordinance takes effect 30 days after its April 26 adoption on "second reading" by four councilmembers (Kasperzak, McAlister, Clark and Showalter).The Mercury News just ran a story about a survey revealing that a third of Bay Area residents are ready to move away. Ready or not, many landlords will be trading existing tenants for new ones.


37 people like this
Posted by WhatHappensNow
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2016 at 8:17 am

Thanks! I still don't understand though.

RE: "Outlaw evictions". Are you recommending legalizing "squatting" where the tenant occupies the rental and pays nothing to the landlord as a protest against the new lease at an increased rate? That sounds like a scamming the system, and likely ends with a sheriff ordering someone out of an apartment like an old episode of COPs.

This is how I envision things work for "real people" -- let me know if you agree:

If my rent is $2,000 and my monthly after-tax income is $2,500 -- I can afford it. It's expensive, but doable.

If my rent then goes to $2,500 -- I have to move. I can't afford it (and my other expenses) anymore (let's ignore using savings in this scenario).

It'll never get to the point of "an eviction..." I won't be able to sign a lease agreeing to $2,500 a month because that's more than I can afford. So I'll move out when my $2,000 lease ends.

How does this mediation help in this scenario?


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 3, 2016 at 9:49 am

The mediation ordinance restricts the landlord's perogative to end tenancies - as do lots of laws - but it does not outlaw what I call "preemptive evictions" (i.e., ending tenancies instead of demandibg a rent increase that tenants may contest in mediation). It could have been amended to protect tenants fromm preemptive evictions - not all evictions - but the landlord-endorsed City Council refused to even put on the agenda any such discussion and possible change in the language. An eviction may have various stages. It starts with the landlord having a reason to want a tenant to leave. The City Council has enacted a law that gives a landlord that wants to increase the rent (but avoid the hassle of a tenant's demand for mediation and even non-binding arbitration) the motivation to end that tenancy and replace that tenant with a new one who could be charged any rent the market will bear.


82 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2016 at 11:07 am

@WhatHappensNow,

Your property management company charges 10% of the gross rent off the top, these are bills that the landlord has to pay. In most instances, these management firms make far more profit than the property owner does.

Market rent for a 1 bedroom in 2000 was $1,500. In 2003 for the same unit, it was $850.
From the year 2000 thru today rent is up 33%. Proponents of rent control are using artificially low rent levels from the recession. Not fair.

Voters keep approving new bond spending like schools and parcel taxes on every ballot. These bills get passed on to the property owner, tenants never see these increases. The city of Mountain View raised the water/sewer/trash 8% to 10%. This is not figured into the CPI. I can not even remember when the CPI in our area was much above 2%. If you own your own home, you know how much costs have gone up when you do a repair or any other home improvement.

There are many people in the valley now that have moved here during the last 8 years, they do not know yet what a down cycle looks like. The up and down cycles are severe here. I remember many, many times that landlords where advertising 2 free months of rent if you move in, trips to Hawaii, big screen TV's and free microwaves.
I have copied 2 posts from other threads from the Voice. I hope that there is some helpful information for you.

One last thing, Council Member McAlister has stated that some people keep claiming to be evicted just to raise rents, but they could never find them to verify it. Do not believe these scare tactics that some people post here. If this is true, they should produce the names and contact information and send it to the council to have it verified.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by James, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Nov 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm
I believe that many people, including Steve Levy, are uninformed about the situation that faces many people. I will supply this information to those individuals in the hopes that they will better understand the situation of apartment owners.

This is a very typical example, middle of the road in terms of upkeep, of a 24 unit apartment building in Mountain View.

Property Value-------------------------------------------------$10,080,000
(1) 60% loan at 4.5% fixed for 30 years, yearly payment --------$393,996
(2) Property taxes----------------------------------------------$123,660
Utility's--------------------------------------------------------$18,000
Property Insurance-----------------------------------------------$10,000
General Maintenance, pool, landscape, etc,-upkeep-repairs--------$40,000
Property management firm-----------------------------------------$60,480
Total Expense's-------------------------------------------------$646,136
100% occupied for 12 months at market rent for 1 year, income---$604,800
Net Loss for the year------------------------------------------- $ -41,336

That is the rough idea of a profit and loss statement for this property.

There are major capital expense's that money will need to be saved for, like new roof, copper re-pipe, kitchen and bath remodel, new windows,RECESSIONS, etc. All of this together is around $600,000.

Now, please tell me if rent control was passed, and Prop. 13 was repealed, who will step up and own these properties and put money into them so as these buildings can continue to stand and provide housing to people. If you say San Francisco has rent control, yes they do, they also have fewer rent controlled properties now than they did when they first passed that ordinance, and ever more expensive rentals that any where else in the valley.

(1) Commercial properties can go no longer than a 10 year fixed rate loan, where as residential properties can continue with their original 30 year note, commercial has to refinance every 10 years. The negative side to this is in the later years of the loan where most of the payments start to pay down the principal, the early years are mostly interest payments. It takes a very long time to pay off a commercial loan.

(2) Steve Levy says that property taxes are not the issue, then you have to assume that voters will repeal proposition 13 and these apartments will be reassessed higher taxes each and every year, so that cost will be increasing.

Think about it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
And one more for your consideration,

Posted by Gladys , a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Nov 1, 2015 at 9:30 am

For all the people who are now complaining about the high rents and want their city to pass rent control, from 2001 thru 2008 you did not have one landlord go to their city council and demand rent control in reverse for falling rental prices, or to prohibit tenants from moving out of their unit until it was rented again. During that time frame rents fell from $1,500 to $850 for a one bedroom in my area, and with a vacancy factor of 30% to 35%, many owners filed for bankruptcy protection and banks took back properties because they could not pay the mortgage or refinance their property because they could not meet the qualifications set by the banks. Many landlords lost millions - yes millions of dollars on apartments that they just purchased a few years prior.

The economic cycle runs about every 9 years when we go back into a recession. It happened in the 1980's, 90's, and 2001. Apartments are just like any other business in that they have to save money when the economy is good so that they could weather thru the hard times, if they can't do this, they go out of business and lose their property.

Renters are shielded from all the price increases that property owners face. They have no idea how much the prices are going up for labor,gardeners, painters, flooring guys, plumbers, carpenters, tile installers, roofer, property insurance, liability insurance,etc.

The biggest threat that is coming is the ballot measure that the politicians from Sacramento will be putting on the ballot next November to repeal Prop.13 for commercial properties, which includes apartment buildings. This measure passed in the 1970's to protect property taxes increases that harmed property owners, and severely harmed the seniors and low income people. If people vote to pass this measure, you will see yearly rent increases higher than now just to pay for the property taxes.
The reality is that the Bay Area has mostly been built out and there is no more room to grow. With more and more people moving here, it is simply a supply and demand situation that forces prices up on ALL real estate.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 3, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Actually, thete is plenty of space in the Bay Area but the special interests and their representatives in political office have declared vast areas off limits to development. Politicians are doing their jobs.- for special interests including residential landlords. It is a new kind of "supply and demand." Special interest groups demand advantages and politicians supply those advantages. And by the way, among the special interests are government employees who want to guarantee their own future income, perogative and benefits. Thank goodness the Bay Area is not part of the United States or it would be in deep debt.


63 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 3, 2016 at 9:22 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Actually Gary, it is not just special interests but regular, plain old property owners and people who have made a purchase with a very specific commodity in mind. We've had this discussion multiple times but you don't seem to understand or get it.

Many here do not want massive growth and huge urban buildings. People come here specifically for the "small town", suburban feel. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to keep it that way. There is plenty of "big city" up or down the Peninsula, in SF or San Jose or over in Oakland. What is so wrong with wanting to keep a suburban feel to an area? I don't want to live in a Manhattan. A San Francisco, a Los Angeles, a Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. I've lived in a huge city with high rises and multifamily living spaces and I SPECIFICALLY bought here because I didn't want that. I WANT to live in a more spacious, spread out area with parks and lawns and not everything concrete and mass transit and steel girders.

I bought and paid for a very specific commodity. I want to keep that. I'm not a politician or a special interest group, just a plain old family who worked and saved very hard to come to the area we most wanted to live.

And now let the "you're selfish, you just want what you have and the hell with everyone else" naysayers come in. And my response is and has consistently been what no one else wants to say:

Not everyone can afford to live here. It is NOT an inherent right to live here. Period.


9 people like this
Posted by Free Market
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 3, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Interesting that landlord mvresident2003 wants to be able to do anything she wants with her property, but doesn't respect the property rights of others. If she wants to raise the rents 200% in one year, she demands the right to do so. Free market! Don't like it? Then get out l!

But if large property owners want to exercise their free market property rights and build high, she's all offended.

I actually want to keep MV the density it is today, but advocates like mvresident2003 are so patently and obviously selfish, it is damaging our cause.


42 people like this
Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 3, 2016 at 10:29 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

who is landlord mvresident2003?

If you're referring to my "by the way a registered user" post, then you are sorely mistaken. I just own a very small, ridiculously small in fact, home in Monta Loma. I am by no means a landlord. And be quite frank, I've already spent a ridiculous amount of money to live in a crappy little neighborhood and I by no means want to see it get even worse with rent control.


5 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 4, 2016 at 12:16 am

Most residents would probably agree with this: the City Council majority has done nothing for tenants except to teach them that they should have become homeowners before workers were imported from all around the world - crowding the roads and bidding up the price of housing limited not by geography but by various government land-use restrictions.


5 people like this
Posted by Great!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 4, 2016 at 1:57 am

Mvresident2003 wrote she lives in a crappy neighborhood. This is America--she is free to sell her home and move to a mythical better place to live.

Buh-bye!


53 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 4, 2016 at 9:17 am

Yeah, Landlords are a special interest group that gets special treatment.

1- We should all demand that homeowners get the same special interest rates that apartment owners get. Landlords pay roughly 1.5% higher interest rates than homeowners. Homeowner 3%, apartments 4.5%.

2- We should all demand that homeowners have to have loans that have to be refinanced every 10 years, or less. That way there is a better chance that when the loan is due it will be during a recession and you will not be able to qualify for a new loan and you will lose your property. Just like apartment buildings.

3- We should change the law that prohibits banks from foreclosing on apartments, we should also change the law that says they are automatically guaranteed a new loan. NOT.

4- We should demand that city councils change the laws so the city will no longer be paying the bills for apartment owners, like loans/repair/insurance/taxes/utility's, etc. NOT.

5- We should demand that the city council change the laws that prohibit rental rate declines in a down economy. We should change the law that makes tenants responsible to keep paying rent until a new person is found to pay the rent. Not.

6- We should change the law where the city attorney represents landlords in court on tenant issues, like Unlawful Detainer, collecting money due from people who skipped out in the middle of the night. NOT.

The city council's job, in part, is to protect everyone's right equally. What your side wants is to take away rights from one group to give to you so you have more rights, and your side says "we can because we have the numbers on our side." Five of the council members understand that everyone has equal rights, member Siegel much prefers a system like Venezuela where he is the ruler of the country and private businesses are his to control and confiscate.

Nothing is stopping you and your friends from purchasing all the buildings you want so you can then provide free rent to everyone. You will be treated in the same exact way as any other landlord, or any other business.

Yeah, Landlords get so many special privileges.

The reality is that there are absolutely no different rules for the pizza shop down the street, the dry cleaner around the corner, the shoe repair store downtown or the restaurants/bars or any other business in our city. We all have the same rules and we all have to work within those rules. They are hard working people who made many sacrifices to start a business. Some fail, many struggle, some eventually make it.

You have the very same opportunity here to do the same, there are no different rules for you than a landlord has.

The one thing that will always keep you down is your ideology, you resent anyone who built something for themselves and you rather take it away from them, than try to earn it. Stop making excuses.

One last thing, the city council was endorsed by the Mountain View Voice Newspaper.

The Voice is a biased paper that gives no coverage or facts from the other side. A newspaper is supposed to give facts from both sides and let the public decide. The Voice is a special interest for your side. Have you ever asked where the editor and the publisher lives? or how much they are worth? What would you think about people who do not live in Mountain View, writing editorials about issues and telling people how they should vote. I for one do not like it. If they do not have the decency to give the other side equal time and coverage, then they should not be telling people what to do.


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 4, 2016 at 9:37 am

The MV Voice and a small percentage of voters did make the mistake of previously supporting some of these landlord and developer endorsed councilmembers. But I predict it won't happen again in the November election. In my view, Clark and McAlister are toast (if qualified candidates also run). "Bill" can campaign for any candidate he likes - including with online posts and even "free" letters to the editor. No one claims newspapers are neutral (even in selecting and writing "news" articles). But it appears to me that the Voice will run any responsible opposing views.


49 people like this
Posted by Sue
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

HELLO!

I hope everyone sees that the Voice and the proponents of this rent control petition are trying to keep very quiet about this new 5 panel un-elected rent board that will have the power to make new law and change law. We never had a board that had power like this. These powers need to stay with the city council, those who we can vote in or out.

That is the main issue of this petition. That should be the only item that should be talked about.

This would be a drastically different change for our city.

If the proponents of this petition can not be honest with the public and post now what all laws they want, then we need to make sure everyone understands that.

No matter what they will try to say now to defend it, the new board can change it and do what they want.

Please copy this post and post it on all social media and email it to everyone, and urge no one to sign it, and a no vote if it gets that far.


57 people like this
Posted by Voice Bias
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 4, 2016 at 11:02 am

The Voice is biased to the point it has completely lost credibility on this topic. I hope people are mindful of the Voice's future coverage on this topic. Specifically:

- 2 full editorials within a 4 week span (has this ever happened before?)

- A full column in the print edition devoted to Gary Wesley, who supports the paper's position. What special title/position does Mr. Wesley have that warrants those inches in the paper? As far as I know he's just another resident.

- "Much criticized mediation program wins council approval". Even the title of this article is slanted to get in a dig.

As this issue moves forward (or dies), I hope folks read critically and recognize the Voice has a position on this issue that seems to go beyond the editorial page.

Please REPORT the news and not try to MAKE the news.


3 people like this
Posted by signed initiative petition
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 4, 2016 at 11:17 am

I signed the petition for the city charter change because I believe that it is a 'debatable' proposition. It seems to come from the legal advice of a Stanford University legal aid group that helps people in East Palo Alto. Is the proposed Rent Board the best idea - or even acceptable to me in the end? TO BE DETERMINED. But I agree with lawyer Gary - the current ordinance was too narrowly discussed and debated.
I will vote for John McAlister for council (and even outgoing council member Kasperzak for assembly) because I think they are generally thoughtful and capable public elected officials. With the rent initiative on the ballot - it will help me chose Council Candidates! There will be a specific policy item to match their views against.
And - I assume the Voice reporting staff will again find the weenies that are trying to hide large PAC style campaign spending - so I can be sure to vote against their interests if they offend me. This year - with apparently many rent control ordinances up for citizen votes in the Bay Area, it may be a perfect time to 'bleed the PACs dry.'


4 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 4, 2016 at 11:20 am

You too can get a letter or column published in the MV Voice. Last year, I wrote a letter critical of the Voice's coverage of a proposal that the City Council declare that Mountain View supports a 1949 UN resolution on "human rights." As they say in an ad for sports wear: JUST DO IT.


32 people like this
Posted by signed initiative petition
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

LOL,

My name is Gary Jr. and I approve this message.


9 people like this
Posted by Voice Bias
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 4, 2016 at 5:08 pm

@Gary

The article to which I refer was not a guest opinion or OpEd, it was a regular "news" article, which chose to use Gary Wesley and his opinion for a disproportionate share of the story.

Just seemed odd to me that the Voice would devote that much of that story to a single resident's opinion.


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 4, 2016 at 8:34 pm

It is not just an opinion. It was and is an important fact that the mediation ordinance does not protect tenants from preemptive eviction. It does not take much expertise to understand why. Read what I wrote in tagging this article and read Section 43.30 of the ordinance for yourself. You will probably get it - if you don't already. And when an issue comes before the City Council about which you have some insight, you can and should speak up. This response assumes you are commenting in good faith.


11 people like this
Posted by What now
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

Just got an email through Nexdoor to come have cookies and talk about what a great idea rent control is.

I'm assuming my neighborhood isn't the only one and I would like to reply to this with A word of caution and let this same group know that there are many sides to this issue.

Anyone want to craft a response that could be used in all neighborhoods. I don't want to miss peak but so feel people should be made aware of the independent council part and I m not sure I underhand it fully to be completely factual.

I also think and strongly hope others would use this same text to get the message out to their neighborhoods just as the proponents are. Everyone will have an opportunity to vote, I just think everyone should also have the right to know the full implications.

Help?


3 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

@ What now. (1) Have you actually read the initiative? (2) What exactly does it say a rent board can do? (3) Do you have any idea how a rent control law could guarantee individual landlords a fair rent without some kind of review process available?


21 people like this
Posted by Mark
a resident of The Crossings
on May 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Finally,

It finally looks like enough attention as been brought to this issue of affordable housing.

Here are our county supervisors idea to address this issue here,

Web Link

and also another state solution to address this here,

Web Link

This would be $2 Billion dollars in aid the first year. We should ask that they provide immediate cash-vouchers in aid the first year till the new low income housing come on line.
I will whole heartily support these measures and we need to contact our representatives to support them.

I am very comfortable in supporting these ideas and I am no longer open to the initiative asking for rent control. This would unfairly put the burden on one small group of people instead of everyone paying their fair share to solve this problem.

@What Now,

There are far to many unknowns and unanswered questions that should have been spelled out in the petition.

This new board can change any law they want. Period. The proponents should have stated now what new laws they wanted without the need of an un-elected board with so much power.

All one has to do is look at what San Francisco rent board has done. Much has been written in the different threads here in the Voice. Landlords can not evict criminals, landlords can not pass thru improvements, landlords can not pass thru mortgage expenses. If landlords can not do these, the buildings will age very, very fast.This is just a brief mention of what is already going on today.

The question that your neighbors need to ask them self's is, do they want any area of our town where this will be going on? and what do you think will happen to the image of our city? Just look at East Palo Alto, San Jose, Oakland, Hayward and others. Do they have a good image? Do they have any issues that come to mind first when you mention these cities? and is it a positive one? You will find your answer.

No matter what proponents say now, this new rent board can and will change any law they desire and they can not be voted out if we disagree with said new law. No other board in Mountain View has this much power. That power needs to stay with the city council.

There is a serial poster here who lives on this site, he will say anything to get this issue passed. Do not believe him. He uses scare tactics and emotional arguments, and name calling to trick people to support his side.

Again, several posts already in different threads here, like Council Member McAlister has said that people keep claiming to be evicted just so landlords can increase rents, yet McAlister has said they can not find these people to verify their claims. Proponents should produce a list and submit it to all the council for verification if this is true.

The city has passed several new ordinances. Everyone has had the option to already sign a 12 month lease. If they where concerned about rent increases, they should not worry for the next 12 months.

There is also a new mediation program that is being set up. Council has asked that data come back to them every 6 and 12 months. They will know what issues come before mediation, and if both sides agree to disclose said content, this will also go back to council. In 12 months time council will have data to show what is actually happening in our city, and no more scare tactics or hype. Some council members have said they will act incrementally to address this issue. They just do not want to thru out the baby with the bath water all at once. Very reasonable.

It could have been a very simple initiative.
One line says cap rents to cpi.
Second line says who can be evicted.
End of story, then people decide.
They did not do that, you have to ask yourself why?


48 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 4:11 pm

I hope that there are enough people who are reasonable, tolerant and open minded to hear what property owners have to say about what happens under rent controlled cities.

I am a very typical individual that lives here. While many people like to demonize people like me trying to make a living, I am far from either rich or "set" for live. As a self employed individual, I will not get any Social Security check at retirement age, or any type of 401 K retirement account and I have to pay my own health insurance. Every one of my tenants in my small building makes more money in 3 months than I do all year.

I do not understand why anyone who says that I have to subsidize everyone's rent, especially when one couple makes $300,000 a year! How is that fair? They can easily afford to buy their own home, but if the rents never go up on them, they have no other reason to purchase something.

Newer buildings built after 1995, duplex's, condominiums, and single family homes will not be covered under this initiative now or ever. That only leaves the very old buildings in our city that will have rent control on them, which includes me.

The future for me, and others like me will be to cut costs and save a dollar everywhere I can. In talking with other owners in San Jose and San Francisco, they do not replace carpets but they dye them dark brown. They get 30 to 35 years out of the carpet by doing this instead of replacing them. Appliances do not get replaced but repeatedly repaired and they do not throw out any old appliance, they store them and use for parts. Painting interior units so that they will be fresh for a new occupant will be over, in it's place will be washing down spots and just puttying any holes. They will be clean but not newly painted. Landscape will be reduced to cut down on landscapers cost. Counter-tops that have cuts or small burns will not be replaced. On and on this will go.

This is what will be happening to all the old rent control buildings.

We are also looking at new rules coming from this rent board that will deny any eviction to anyone, just like San Francisco does now. That will be just one more reason to do even less if you have trouble makers in your building and you can not evict them.

Up until last week I was getting estimates for new windows and exterior painting for this summer. I have now dropped these plans.

This will change our city into the same image, over time, that East Palo Alto, East San Jose, San Francisco has. Once this hits, it will affect everyone, including single family homes.

I do not want to go into bankruptcy because I am limited to what I can make in a good year. No one can guarantee a profit for a landlord, especially not this new rent board. The serial poster here should explain how a landlord can make a profit in a recession with rents falling 40% and vacancy's of 35%. Exactly like what happened from 2001 thru 2008.

Tell me why proponents are also not capping price increases on everybody else. I just had a talk with my landscape guy, he is raising his price from last year 105%. He said "we are basically doing it for free from last years price."
The city of Mountain View raised there water-sewer-trash rate 9%. Not tied to CPI, should I only pay CPI increase on my utility's?

I can tell you this, you will not like what these neighborhoods of older apartment buildings will turn in to, and that will have an effect on value for every single family home, condominium in our city. There will be nothing that the city can do about it either, just like East Palo Alto.


55 people like this
Posted by Voice Bias
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 5, 2016 at 4:32 pm

@Julie

Thanks for your perspective as an apartment owner. Maybe the Voice will write a story on this perspective that runs counter to their opinion. That would be balanced "reporting".

PS - I'd also like to see what happens when MV reaches "steady state" with all the units currently under construction. Aren't there 3,000 units currently under construction (many on El Camino) which will become available in 0-2 years. Let's not doing something rash before seeing the impact of those projects.


112 people like this
Posted by Gladys
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2016 at 7:09 pm

@ What Now,

Copy this post for you to take along with your get together. Also, take notes what others have said.

There where no stories told of all the apartment owners who lost their buildings from 2001 thru 2008, the last recession. Buildings had high vacancies, $1,500 market rents in 2001, then $850 in 2003. Owners did not have the income to refinance or qualify for new loans. Many lost their buildings because they could not refinance or pay the bills.

You did not have one building owner go to the city council demanding new laws that would prohibit falling rents, or capping the decrease to CPI. You also did not have them demanding a new law that would prevent a tenant from moving out until a new one is found. If you want laws that restrict upward caps, then it is only fair that landlords have them as well for the down market.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Below are 2 posts from different threads. The first shows one specific property that lost $12,000,000 in 9 nine years in the last recession. This was happening to many apartment owners in the valley.

Web Link

Posted by Mike
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm
@Gladys and @Angel S.

I have done some research as to both of your claims that you have made.

Gladys, I have found that your claims are true. Also, with regards to the property on California St. I did a MLS search and that apartment building was sold 3 times. In November of 2000 it sold for $17,000,000. they then sold it for $10,000,000. Then it was sold on more time in August 2009 for $5,156,000.
During that time frame, there is no way to confirm how much cash they put into the business to keep it going, but I believe it must have been considerable. During this time period you had 2 owners lose a combined $12,000,000. There is no way that these property owners can earn that kind of money back.

Angel S., Your statement that landlords are guaranteed a profit is false. No business is guaranteed to make a profit. With regards to be able to evict bad people, I looked at San Francisco case history, and it is virtually impossible to evict anyone. There are cases where property owners wanted to move in their son or family members and the rent board denied them their right to do so.

I was waiting for you reply to Gladys, she has very clear and concise questions that if you would have been able to answer here, maybe we all could have made progress here, and personally, I would never attend an event with you present.

But you seem to automatically have a habit to attack people who do not agree with or question you. You disrespect a person for no other reason than being a landlord, and you attack Sally for your believe that she does not live in Mountain View.

Angel, Do you have any other suggestions, besides rent control, to help the low income pay their rent?
And F.Y.I, if you say you have people who are being retaliated by landlords,tell them to pull out their smart phone and record it. You then have your prove.

From what I have learned, I do not understand why anyone would want to invest in a rental property. Every 10 years our valley goes thru recessions, they loss a ton of money during those times, then you have people who demand rent control. I can not support any such measures.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And one more post from this thread. This gives you a very good idea as to the costs that is associated with running an apartment business. If any one is fair and open minded they will see the expenses and the income, then they should decide if this would be a business that they would want to run and put their money in. Then add on top of that you will have what is a mob mentality with many people that is working to put you out of business in the next recession hits, with this rent control package.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted by James, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Nov 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm

I believe that many people, including Steve Levy, are uninformed about the situation that faces many people. I will supply this information to those individuals in the hopes that they will better understand the situation of apartment owners.

This is a very typical example, middle of the road in terms of upkeep, of a 24 unit apartment building in Mountain View.

Property Value-------------------------------------------------$10,080,000
(1) 60% loan at 4.5% fixed for 30 years, yearly payment --------$393,996
(2) Property taxes----------------------------------------------$123,660
Utility's--------------------------------------------------------$18,000
Property Insurance-----------------------------------------------$10,000
General Maintenance, pool, landscape, etc,-upkeep-repairs--------$40,000
Property management firm-----------------------------------------$60,480
Total Expense's-------------------------------------------------$646,136
100% occupied for 12 months at market rent for 1 year, income---$604,800
Net Loss for the year------------------------------------------- $ -41,336

That is the rough idea of a profit and loss statement for this property.

There are major capital expense's that money will need to be saved for, like new roof, copper re-pipe, kitchen and bath remodel, new windows,RECESSIONS, etc. All of this together is around $600,000.

Now, please tell me if rent control was passed, and Prop. 13 was repealed, who will step up and own these properties and put money into them so as these buildings can continue to stand and provide housing to people. If you say San Francisco has rent control, yes they do, they also have fewer rent controlled properties now than they did when they first passed that ordinance, and ever more expensive rentals that any where else in the valley.

(1) Commercial properties can go no longer than a 10 year fixed rate loan, where as residential properties can continue with their original 30 year note, commercial has to refinance every 10 years. The negative side to this is in the later years of the loan where most of the payments start to pay down the principal, the early years are mostly interest payments. It takes a very long time to pay off a commercial loan.

(2) Steve Levy says that property taxes are not the issue, then you have to assume that voters will repeal proposition 13 and these apartments will be reassessed higher taxes each and every year, so that cost will be increasing.

Think about it.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

@ Voice Bias,

There are 22,000 apartments that are in the planning stages. If the city had more capacity in the planning department, many of these could come on line sooner. Instead of paying for this new proposed 5 member rent board, they should take that money and hire more people in the planning department. Who knows what the upper end of new units will be in the city, 30,000 or 40,000? But none of these units will be rent control units, only the older buildings can fall under any rent control.


8 people like this
Posted by Priced out
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

@Julie -

While I'm sympathetic to most of what you say, I do have to take exception to your assessment that your tenants that make $300K/year could easily buy a home. My family brings in $300K/year, and we barely save anything - not nearly enough for a $200K (minimum) down payment we'd need to buy something. Between our $3,700 rent (which I'm well aware is below market value for a Mountain View 3BR), student loan payments (you know, for the degrees that got us these high-paying jobs), and child care, we're out over $9,000/month before we even think about things like groceries... or utilities... or clothing... and on and on and on. Further, our high pay puts us in a very high tax bracket... combine that with health insurance, etc., and our net take-home pay is less than 60% our salaries. We'd love nothing more than to buy a home in Mountain View, but it feels more and more like the odds are stacked against us. Just some food for thought.


66 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm

@Priced out,

Bills-bills-bills-bills- Own and operate a small business, more bills-more-bills-more-bills. Welcome to my world.



I am sympathetic to everyone here trying to make a living.

I hope that I can open your eyes by acknowledging that you have major expenses, and that it takes a lot to save for a down payment to be able to purchase any property here. Now put your self in my shoes with most of your daily expenses and now add on top of that the additional expense of a very large mortgage, and ever constantly rising expenses, that is what I have. Then you have people telling me that they want to take away my income,and my ability to keep paying bills in bad times when I do not have the cash flow to cover expenses.

Let me also clarify for you, I was talking about my tenants who make $300,000 as a couple. When they moved in 7 years ago, they had zero debt. How do I know, I run credit checks on everyone. Rent when they moved in was $1,300 and now they pay $1,800. They easily could have qualified for a new loan to purchase something. I have another high income earner as a tenant for 10 years here who has been buying farm land in the mid west where his family is from. He also bought a condominium in town there.

But this is a good starting point for a conversation. I understand you have bills, I also have bills, but I am not asking for anyone to pay my bills when I can not make my payments, like in recessions.

I have a landscape guy come every three months to trim the bushes. Its him and one other helper, they are in and out in 4 hours. He now has told me he is raising his price from $2000 for one visit to $4,405.

This is only my thought now, people can choose to live where they want to, life is about chooses. With just the very limited info you said about your self, I personally would consider to look else where for options to live. Right now on Craigslist is a 3 bedroom single family home for rent for $3,200, the very best in schools for kids. Also, if you are paying $3,700 a month right now in Mountain View for a 3 bedroom apt, that suggests to me that you are living in a newer building that would not even be covered by any rent control. Just my opinion.

Again I have to ask, why is there not a cap on everyone, why just landlords?


3 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Correction:

3 bedroom for rent in Cupertino, $3,200


33 people like this
Posted by What now
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 6, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Julie, thank you for your posts. You put forth the other side of this issue in a very calm, informative, non-emotional way. May I suggest something? You and other landlords need to band together and get this message out. I am happy to help you with marketing and getting flyers out to the voters who need to understand the negative impact this will have on our town.

Someone earlier suggested getting together at a coffee house, perhaps we can start there? Anyone interested in spreading more truth about the impacts of this crazy measure meet? These tenants have the backing of Stanford Community Law Clinic and a SF based Tenants Rights group. You too need to band together and support yourselves.

The more I read about this, the more it scares me. They put for the statements from people like " "I'm tired of seeing my friends and family move away because of rent increases.". Since when is it the government/City Council responsibility to make sure you get to live close to your friends?

Or how about the FAQ's responses such as:
"a landlord can still choose how much to raise the rent as long as it is under the allowed annual increase". Really? What does this tenant-based council deem as "allowed"?

"The rent stabilization measures enable landlords to make a fair return on their investment" and the Council determines what's fair.

"The committee will also be in charge of creating regulations related to this new law". A non-elected committee will makes these decisions.

"The Committee will have a few roles. One is to make sure all landlords and tenants understand the law and know what every year’s CPI and lawful rent increase is." So again, this 'Committee' gets to decide what is a fair rent.

Not good. You landlords need to band together. Fight this.




3 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 6, 2016 at 6:43 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Sigh. I saw this would happen when Silicon Valley was at it's original peak at the late 1970s and early 1980s. Housing prices had just started to become insane back then. I knew I could never afford a house at those prices near where I work.
Compare that to work in Chippewa Falls WI, where Cray Research was located. When I finally bought a house, the trilevel house had a master bath ( I changed that for a spa ) and I bought the 2.5 acre empty lot next to it for $79,000. 5 Miles from work. Our family took a special tour of the Western United States to answer the question " What if we had to move, where would we go?" Washington State ( no Bill Gates Land then ), Oregon and California. Guess what? The housing problem was WORSE in the SFBA and Silicon Valley! Our trilevel in California would cost over $250,000 in California! Since our family was not interested into moving back into my parent's house, we headed East on I-80. When we stopped at Chief Hosa Campground, I felt CO was " right ".
We took that $79,000 and bought a house in Longmont. A cozy ( read small ) bi-level. A nice view of Long's Peak out the kitchen window. A developer bought that property next to our house and said condos would be built there ( and block our view of Long's Peak ) We sold it for $99,000 and moved to Evergreen, CO into a full basement " fixer-upper " for $153,000. The last appraisal was $325,000.

I went through this epic to show everyone that you PAY for the privilege to live in Silicon Valley. Your Rent Money can easily be turned into OWNING a property outside California. Yes, some of the same high tech companies now have campuses in the Denver Metro Area. It is just less expensive to do business in Colorado, and not just Denver.

The real problem: Many CALIFORNIANS have filled up the $179,000 Daly City type housing in Highlands Ranch and are starting to impact the I-25 highway commute with their obnoxious driving habits! Since Light Rail covers the same commute ( VTA is one tenth the size and ten times the trouble ), I see actual people filling most Light Rail trains..And spending weekends in the mountains with their mountain bikes and skis strapped to the tops of their cars. Ski slopes are 1 hour away on I-70.

Instead of worrying about how to pay their landlord, these newcomers actually have leisure time and put money back into the community and strike a more balanced lifestyle than the one they had on the West Coast. For Evergreen, we built ONE condo and only will allow single family residences to be built from now on. Maxing out our water/sewer services is a no-no!


3 people like this
Posted by a MV resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm

a MV resident is a registered user.

In response to "You landlords need to band together. Fight this."

I hope and believe that the majority of landlords in MV have more in common with the renters of MV that believe that everyone should be treated with humanity, than the rare few who charge exorbitant rent, not to cover their increasing expenses, but to take advantage of the unequal reality that compels renters to pay more than what would exist in a fully functioning market and society. Those rare few who practice exploitative practices may not even be landlords that are people, but corporations and private equity firms that are structured not to care about MV. Like any business, landlords deserve to make a reliable profit. When pharmaceutical companies try to raise prices, not because their medicine had newly added value or expenses, but because patients had no choice, the public was disgusted by it, and it's equally disgusting when it happens in housing.

The lack of public planning and investment in transportation artificially hampers renter mobility. Even worse is most cities' unwillingness to support free market growth in housing.

So a local climate that artificially restricts supply and mobility, can't ever have rents that reflect a truly free market. The mentality that calls for renters to move if they don't like the prices, harks back to the unscrupulous practices of company towns where workers were told to pay exorbitant prices or quit their jobs.

It's odd that these message boards by large only sympathize with landlords. Their concerns are equal, not more or less, than those of renters, because we are all people. I hope we have a city that balances both concerns in creating public solutions. When issues get complex, one should still never lose sight of the common expectation to have care for all people.


31 people like this
Posted by What now
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm

@a MV resident, I wholeheartedly agree. We are all people. Public solutions absolutely. But why do you want to penalize the landlords, or those property owners who have put their own personal equity at risk. Let's hold the City council responsible. The governing factor who allowed expansion without foresight to happen. Hold their feet to the fire, those who had no $ in the game. Let's not penalize those who took the risk and made the investment.


11 people like this
Posted by I'm not an economist
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 7, 2016 at 10:17 am

"The lack of public planning and investment in transportation artificially hampers renter mobility. Even worse is most cities' unwillingness to support free market growth in housing."


I agree with above statement. Better transportation ( lower cost) would enable low skilled workers to live in cheaper areas and commute cheaply to more productive job centers.

" So a local climate that artificially restricts supply and mobility, can't ever have rents that reflect a truly free market "

Even with this supply restriction, prices are still set competitively between buyers and sellers. Rents are higher in SV but they are also lower in cities in central California. Renters will make their own personal choice of where they would like to locate . Govt cannot solve the price problem by imposing rent controls.


63 people like this
Posted by Not Good
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 7, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Just had 2 people knock on my door asking for signatures for this "Rent Stabilization"

Listened to them explain it,
"landlords can raise rents 5%"
Did not say it is tied to CPI, which is less than 2% currently so 2% would be amount that could be raised.

"the new rent panel will explain rent increases that are allowed, and will have the power to lower rents"
You do not need 5 people on a panel to do this. It shows that they will have drastic powers to do what they want with no over site. They made very clear "to lower rents"

They also said that landlord will have "fair return on their investment" however, when I asked what that % was, they could not answer that.

They are not calling this new rent board what it is, but a "committee will also be in charge of creating regulations related to this new law"

I did not sign it, it goes against what is fair and right. People do not have equal rights here if this happens.

This will have a negative effect on all property in Mountain View. They are dividing people and property types into groups and attacking them one at a time. Everyone needs to stand up against it for we could be next with higher property taxes for more new programs.

Talk to your friends here and get them to vote no on it. It sounds like they will have enough signatures by the end of the month.

One last thing, I will no longer pick up the occasional helper from the Mountain View Day Worker Center. They are working hard to gather the signatures. So much donations and generosity from the city and tax payers went to this group to get their center up and running and this is how they treat other members of the community.
Very intolerant group of people.


3 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

"Mediation" is a code word for the mirage of justice for the individual vav corporate or any business interest. The elephant in the room truth is that in 95% of the cases which go to mediation, the decision is in favor of the business involved.

SPIN is the current solution for this city council vav issues that impact the nature or our community, and it's time to simply face that reality folks.

Time to raise a little hell maybe?


11 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 9, 2016 at 8:29 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment/personal attack]


3 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 10, 2016 at 3:34 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment/personal attack]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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