Rent control initiative qualifies for fall ballot

Mountain View Tenants Coalition says enough signatures have been validated to qualify

The Mountain View Tenants Coalition announced Thursday evening that its rent control initiative has qualified to appear on the November ballot.

A statement released by the grassroots group on July 14 said that it was notified by the Santa Clara County Registrar's Office that it had gathered enough valid signatures of Mountain View voters. The Mountain View Tenants Coalition submitted 7,311 signatures, and at least 4,671 were found valid, enough to qualify the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent initiative for this fall's ballot.

"While we were very confident we had submitted sufficient signatures, it is still a big step forward for the campaign to receive certification from the county," said Joan MacDonald, a founding member of the group.

The initiative would impose a cap on rent hikes in the city, forcing most landlords to keep annual increases in the range of 2 to 5 percent. It comes in response to what many have described as a crisis in Mountain View's rental housing market. In the past year, dozens of renters have spoken before the council, pleading for relief from large rent increases that they say are forcing people out of the city and sometimes into homelessness.

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59 people like this
Posted by The Truth
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2016 at 12:28 pm

It is now fact the the Voice is part of this radical outside group who wrote this initiative and is providing cover for them. The Voice has not reported any facts about this issue and how it would affect the city, business owners and tenants.

We now know that if this passes in November the city will be sued over this and the tax payers will have to pay the legal bill to defend this new law.

The new unaccountable rent board will have sole power to make and change law that can result in a lawsuit against the city and again the tax payers will have to pay the legal bills. This new rent board will be a tenant dominated rent board and the city council will not have power to change any law that they pass.

As a tenant, you will have less peace and quiet in a building because responsible landlords will not be able to control or evict these trouble makers. This will effect entire neighborhoods.

The decay and blight that follows these older apartment buildings will get worse and will have an effect on the entire city.

Vote no on all these rent control measures.

Give the new city ordinance a chance to work for one year then revaluate the issue then. There is no reason to go to such an extreme measure, this will effect everyone in the city.

62 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

First off, a disclaimer. I'm not a landlord in town nor do I intend to be.

This measure I believe is the wrong reaction to the problem of this town being too expensive.

If it passes and if it something bad happens it will be difficult to role this back. As the proposed law is written, it doesn't allow the city council or anyone to suspend / modify it. That could be pretty painful....

Another unfortunate side effect is that it will be even harder to find a place to rent here! Think about that for a moment. The very problem we're trying to solve could be even worse.

- People will not want to move out of their rental apartments because the next place will rent for more

- If you're thinking of moving to Sunnyvale, why wouldn't you want to try Mountain View if it's cheaper?

These two things mean even less rental housing on the market...

41 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

"Long Time Resident" hit the nail on the head. It's what those of us who've rented under rent-control laws know all about. Instead of addressing the supply-demand imbalance that caused the recent high rental prices for rental, a price control creates a new, cruel, Us-versus-Them tension between existing and new renters.

Once you find yourself needing to move (which happens for many reasons, outside your plans or control), you find the door slammed shut. There are now 10 times as many contenders for the rare rent-controlled vacancies, and ever fewer of those coming on the market. People cling to them; meanwhile the numbers of rent-controlled units slowly shrink (as their owners sour on landlording and sell to redevelopers, or take units off the market for other uses). The Rent Board and the lucky few squatters never acknowledge these downsides, or acknowledge the RENTERS who are rent control's victims; instead they issue Orwellian rhetoric about it all being "social justice." You can already see that mind-set in Town Square comments lobbying for rent control.

8 people like this
Posted by sidwell
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Speaking as one who has to rely on earned income rather than unearned increases in rent and consequently increased property values...I have to say Hurray! There has to be an end somewhere to these escalating rents. Property speculators will hate it of course, and perhaps win in the long run. Thinking back in history to the French Revolution, one can see that in the long run those with more usually end up winners. But we can try. Too many people living in vehicles and in other people's garages.

10 people like this
Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Jul 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@The Truth: You're mistaken in saying that anyone from the Voice belongs to the Mountain View Tenants Coalition or had anything to do with the initiative. No member of the Voice staff is affiliated in any way with that organization.

18 people like this
Posted by CuestaParkResident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 15, 2016 at 3:02 pm

CuestaParkResident is a registered user.

@Andrea-- I think you mean to say that no CURRENT member of the Voice staff is affiliated with the organization. One long-tenured staff writer previously employed by the Voice is one of the leading spokepeople/leaders of that group. He "covered" these issues while at the Voice, and the Voice does the public, and itself, a disservice by failing to acknowledge this. Certainly that individual still has friends at the Voice who have an interest in helping him along with his new project.

39 people like this
Posted by The Truth
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2016 at 3:06 pm

@ Andrea Grommet

Actions speak louder than words. Your actions says a lot!

Multiple requests have been posted in threads here asking that the Voice state what cities do the editorial board live in, take the transparency pledge that all outside groups are now legally required to follow, and many more issue's could be raised but you have not answered any of them.

In my opinion, I view the Voice as having no credibilty on any issue in my city in which I live in and you do not.

13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2016 at 8:27 pm

You guys don't need to worry about rent control making Mountain View more attractive because it has the opposite effect on rents for new tenants. Old tenants are locked in and pay less, so the rising costs maintenance are then pushed onto new tenants. Rent control makes it much more expensive to enter an area, but then makes it more worthwhile to stay if you manage. It also encourages under-utilization of space - why rent that extra room when the apartment is so cheap, you can use it to keep cats instead, which also drives up rents for new tenants. Rent control stirs the housing pot and creates a different set of winners and losers than the lack of it, it's not good all-around like some claim. It's a band aid on the more fundamental problem of insufficient housing supply.

6 people like this
Posted by Jerry
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

I'm neither a renter nor a landlord, but I can clearly see that ever increasing rents creates an economic imbalance that will negatively impact our culture and economy. I'm dubious about rent-control -- for all the reasons that have been mentioned -- but I want to say that dismissing one possible solution does not make the problem go away. If not rent control, then what would you suggest? The status quo is painful to too many and a threat to us all. So what else? Let's start coming up with positive alternatives rather than just dismissing the rent control strategy.

6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2016 at 7:13 am

As an alternative to rent control, I propose approving all building permits, removing density limits, removing height limits. Allow mixed-use zoning so that services can grow with housing. Our population is growing, we need to house it.

14 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 16, 2016 at 8:10 am


You must be a developer. Yeah let's build skyscrapers while we are at it. As if it's already not bad enough. Our city is sitting in the pocket of Prometheus already. As I drive by the ever looming shadows climbing higher daily from the Mt Doom of San Antonio Ave and through EL Camino Grand Canyon, it's easy to see where this is all going. Way more renters than residents, traffic, pollution and crime. Add rent control and one market correction, which is not an if but a when. That will happen in 4-6 years, we are going to have a massive collapse and the city it going to be in a world of poop. I propose stop all housing building and focus on quality of life infrastructure. Remember average job is less than a year these days, and all the big money's numbers do it on long projections. Rent control is the worse thing that can happen.

21 people like this
Posted by @Member
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2016 at 10:01 am

I agree with you.
In driving around the south bay, every other week you see new for lease-available signs going up in front of office buildings. It feels like this is the year 2000 again and things will really start to drop off next year.

If you where not here during those times, find someone who was and have them tell you how bad it was.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 18, 2016 at 9:14 pm

I'm not a developer, just a resident of Mountain View since 1998, 16 of which I was a renter. We are in a successful, growing part of the country. We can accept density and growth and have the city more varied and affordable, or resist growth and have it be a wealthy techie enclave. I prefer the tradeoffs of the former.

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

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