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Council subcommittee punts on how high to raise Mountain View's rent control limit

As a City Council subcommittee prepares a package of changes to the city's rent control law to go before voters, its members are still avoiding the big question: How much will rents be allowed to go up?

At a Monday, Oct. 14 meeting, the three-member subcommittee could not reach a decision on how to adjust the annual cap on apartment rents. Under the current system that voters approved in 2016, apartment rent increases cannot be more than the rate of inflation, as set by the Consumer Price Index.

Multiple council members say they believe that limit is inadequate for landlords to retain and upgrade their properties, especially apartments that were built decades ago. Over the last year, several older rent-controlled apartment buildings have been slated for demolition and redevelopment into for-sale townhouses.

At the Monday meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga suggested higher rents would staunch the loss of older apartments.

"I firmly believe that (rent control) has caused the issue of displacement as properties are sold off and redeveloped," said Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga. "This (measure) is an effort to balance it out better so we don't see more apartment complexes sold off or redeveloped."

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In past meetings, Abe-Koga favored a 5% cap on rent increases, but she signaled a willingness to budge. Councilman Chris Clark suggested sticking with inflation, but allowing a 1 percentage point surcharge on top. The committee's third member, Lucas Ramirez, preferred staying with inflation or going no higher than 4% rent increases per year.

"Even CPI plus 1% is hard for me to defend," he said.

Much like prior meetings, the most vexing issue of rent control came down to an impasse. Subcommittee members agreed to draft a variety of options on rent increases that would eventually be brought before the full council on Nov. 18. The City Council would need to finalize any ballot measure by early December, according to city staff.

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Council subcommittee punts on how high to raise Mountain View's rent control limit

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 18, 2019, 9:55 am

As a City Council subcommittee prepares a package of changes to the city's rent control law to go before voters, its members are still avoiding the big question: How much will rents be allowed to go up?

At a Monday, Oct. 14 meeting, the three-member subcommittee could not reach a decision on how to adjust the annual cap on apartment rents. Under the current system that voters approved in 2016, apartment rent increases cannot be more than the rate of inflation, as set by the Consumer Price Index.

Multiple council members say they believe that limit is inadequate for landlords to retain and upgrade their properties, especially apartments that were built decades ago. Over the last year, several older rent-controlled apartment buildings have been slated for demolition and redevelopment into for-sale townhouses.

At the Monday meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga suggested higher rents would staunch the loss of older apartments.

"I firmly believe that (rent control) has caused the issue of displacement as properties are sold off and redeveloped," said Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga. "This (measure) is an effort to balance it out better so we don't see more apartment complexes sold off or redeveloped."

In past meetings, Abe-Koga favored a 5% cap on rent increases, but she signaled a willingness to budge. Councilman Chris Clark suggested sticking with inflation, but allowing a 1 percentage point surcharge on top. The committee's third member, Lucas Ramirez, preferred staying with inflation or going no higher than 4% rent increases per year.

"Even CPI plus 1% is hard for me to defend," he said.

Much like prior meetings, the most vexing issue of rent control came down to an impasse. Subcommittee members agreed to draft a variety of options on rent increases that would eventually be brought before the full council on Nov. 18. The City Council would need to finalize any ballot measure by early December, according to city staff.

Comments

LOL.
Bailey Park
on Oct 18, 2019 at 10:02 am
LOL., Bailey Park
on Oct 18, 2019 at 10:02 am
21 people like this

[Post removed due to impersonating a banned poster]


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 18, 2019 at 2:40 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2019 at 2:40 pm
4 people like this

So actually, as I wrote the City Council, the proposed amendments presented by staff to the subcommittee for its October 14 meeting include empowering the (pro-landlord) City Council to permit evictions when a landlord offers to pay whatever relocation amount the City Council were to establish by ordinance. With vacancy de-control, the landlords could then pay tenants very little to leave and charge the next tenant(s) any initial rent the market would bear. The proposal would virtually repeal rent control. Cute trick.


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Oct 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm
23 people like this

Who could have possibly foreseen that a convoluted, political pricing mechanism that thwarts the free exchange between renters and landlords could have any problems?

Just scrap It, encourage development of any kind of house, and get out of the way.


Gavin
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm
Gavin, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 18, 2019 at 9:48 pm
5 people like this

Gavin signed AB1482.
Time for MVCC to embrace the new rent control state law.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Oct 19, 2019 at 5:19 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2019 at 5:19 am
6 people like this

AB 1482, if it becomes law, will apply in Mountain View only to rental units not covered by more protective provisions of the city rent control law ( i.e., Measure V which is part of the city's charter). I say "if it becomes law" because landlords or others have 60 days to challenge it through the referendum process. Here in Mountain View, landlord-rights advocate- current Vice-Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga is leading an apparent group of 5 city councilmembers in an effort to undermine or eliminate the local rent law. I explained above one way these politicians - assisted by city staff - could accomplish that task. If the city charter were amended - as proposed - to permit the city council to enact an ordinance that would, in turn, entitle landlords to terminate tenancies by offering to pay some city council-defined moving expenses, local rent control would virtually cease to exist. Already, landlords profit handsomely from something Vice-Mayor Abe-Koga and company refuse to assess or discuss. It is called "vacancy de-control." It means basically that landlords may raise the rent on a unit to whatever the market will bear each time a tenant moves out. It is an aspect of a long-standing state statute and of new AB 1482. I have suggested that local politicians who actually care about ensuing that landlords get a "fair" rate of return would commission a study of the effect of vacancy de-control. Instead, these politicians seem to be responding to a landlord DOG WHISTLE. But the city council votes have not yet been cast. Abe-Koga apparently is all-in with landlords. But can she get the rest of the group of five (or at least 4 of 7 councilmembers) to endorse another scam? I say "another" because in 2016, when Abe-Koga was taking a break from the city council (under the 2-consecutive term-limit), Councilmembers Chris Clark and John McAlister proposed (and Abe-Koga supported) an alternative to Measure V. It became Measure W. The alternative would have permitted evictions to get new tenants paying "market" rent. Put differently, these 3 current councilmembers used the same trick in 2016. And it almost worked to derail Measure V which passed by only about 52.5% to 47.5% if I remember correctly.


Gavin
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 7:40 am
Gavin, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2019 at 7:40 am
23 people like this

Thanks to Gavin and AB1482, CA has statewide rent control. Now is the time to eliminate local rent control.

Please MVCC, do not squander this opportunity. RHC has been an expensive disaster. I trust one day that council will concentrate on infrastructure, health, public safety and encourage residential development (without the onerous fees and years long delays).

Embrace home ownership, encourage, with state subsidies, the ability for conversion of apartments to condo's that will allow current tenants the ability to turn their rent into equity. The money spent on local rent control has been money wasted. Cities, across the country, with the help of public and private money are buying apartment buildings for local residents in need.


The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2019 at 8:06 am
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2019 at 8:06 am
2 people like this

In response to Gavin you said:

“Thanks to Gavin and AB1482, CA has statewide rent control. Now is the time to eliminate local rent control.”

WHY? The citizens have the right to choose what local rules are. They made their decision. Now it is up to people like yourself to convince them that these rights were unjustified. The fact is that MORE tenants in Mountain View have a window of opportunity to expand CSFRA temporarily to these units as well because AB 1482 has a provision that only prevents city councils to expand rent control. BUT NOT BALLOT INITIATIVES. I would not attempt to trigger another ballot measure to expand the enforcement of CSFRA, because there are now more voters who are likely to benefit from it. You said:

“Please MVCC, do not squander this opportunity. RHC has been an expensive disaster. I trust one day that council will concentrate on infrastructure, health, public safety and encourage residential development (without the onerous fees and years long delays).”

The CSFRA has performed the way it was designed. The only disaster is that many people were convinced by real estate sales people that they could make easy money flipping apartments and homes or going into the rental business expecting unrealistic returns. So you had quite a few people get convinced to pay too much for a property. That was NOT the fault of the CSFRA, it was a bad decision that occurred long before CSFRA was voted on. You said:

“Embrace home ownership, encourage, WITH STATE SUBSIDIES, the ability for conversion of apartments to condo's that will allow CURRENT TENANTS THE ABILITY TO TURN THEIR RENT INTO EQUITY. The money spent on local rent control has been money wasted. Cities, across the country, WITH THE HELP OF PUBLIC and private money are buying apartment buildings for local residents in need.”

All wrong. Why? Because since 1965 the private housing sector proclaimed it could provide adequate housing more cheaply than the federal and state governments. These governments believed them and privatized the housing industry.

What happened? The Private sector proved they couldn’t provide adequate housing WITHOUT public money. I thought they were more efficient and had the expertise to achieve adequate housing? NOW they DEMAND public money to “subsidize” adequate housing? That is ridiculous.

They expect tenants will buy the “new” condos where they are built with the least efficiency thus costing much more than what the market can take. Simply put the private housing sector got what they wanted for more than 50 years and they fail to produce. Why give them public money with such lack of performance?

I guess you are looking at the market as a “supply-side” economist. BUT there are equal forces regarding supply and demand.

However the “supply-side” economics playing out here is based on the severe lack of adequate housing CAUSED by the private sectors false claims of efficiency and the false promises that the federal, state, and local governments relied upon when privatizing housing.


Gavin
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:01 am
Gavin, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2019 at 10:01 am
3 people like this


Landlords in supply-constrained markets make the perfect scapegoats. Local and state governments get two benefits by blaming landlords for high rents. They get to create new bureaucracies to regulate rents and evictions, which means more fees and jobs to fill. Plus, they dupe lower-income people into thinking the housing problem is being addressed and are rewarded with their votes. They also the escape responsibility for the deliberate results of their own anti-housing policies and actions.

Lenny and Gavin are part of the new Progressive Liberal Nimby party (aka Democratic Socialists of America). Pandering to the poor while living in gilded cages. Lenny lives in OMV, and for Newsom, a $3.7 million property in Fair Oaks. It's a fair bet should SB50 pass, there will be no dense housing built in Old Mountain View or Fair Oaks where Gavin lives.


Rent control doesn't build any new housing period, They know it, they hope you just don't understand the first lesson of economics. They choose to ignore it and hope you don't understand it.

There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it, except politicians, we have an over abundance.





The Business Man
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:23 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:23 pm
4 people like this

In response to Gavin you said:

“Landlords in supply-constrained markets make the perfect scapegoats.”

Since 1995 the Costa Hawkins act was promoted to prevent the “supply-constrained” market. IT WAS A TOTAL FAILURE. The private housing market made a false promise to get it past. More than 80% of the current housing is older than 1995. Who is responsible if the government privatized housing and the private market fails to deliver? You said:

“Local and state governments get two benefits by blaming landlords for high rents. They get to create new bureaucracies to regulate rents and evictions, which means more fees and jobs to fill. Plus, they dupe lower-income people into thinking the housing problem is being addressed and are rewarded with their votes.”

Rent control is not designed to cure the housing crisis. That is the responsibility of the private market. This situation is market regulations to prevent price gouging and that is all it is. The private market exploited a designed housing shortage by not building even when the market was allowing unfettered profit under Costa Hawkins. You cannot blame the public for a private orchestrated problem. Until the private market shows proof of alleviating the housing crisis it caused, market regulations will continue and increase. You said:

“They also the escape responsibility for the deliberate results of their own anti-housing policies and actions.”

What proof do you have regarding this? The history can show that projects are approved by the cities and the state, but then the projects get cancelled after they were approved. If you read this article you can see plenty of projects are approved (Web Link) 500,000 units were approved in this article in the past 5 years, but have they been built? There are plenty of stories where they are approved but pulled after approval. What Anti-housing policies can you demonstrate when projects are approved but never built? You said:

“Rent control doesn't build any new housing period, They know it, they hope you just don't understand the first lesson of economics. They choose to ignore it and hope you don't understand it.”

But the collaboration of the private housing market to result in extreme housing shortages is the problem. Rent control is simply an anti-price gouging measure. The evidence is clear that the housing industry has designed and exploited the shortage on their own.


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