News

Guest opinion: Time to collect rent control fees from delinquent landlords

In the Dec. 6 edition, the Mountain View Voice reported on landlord rent control fee delinquencies. As noted in the article, the fee obligations — $101 per rental unit per year — are codified in the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA, also known as Measure V). The delinquencies are large, totaling over $100,000.

Forty-thousand dollars of the delinquency is due to non-payment by Carmel Partners, owners of The Village apartments on San Antonio Road. A sample of rents currently/recently on the market shows annual rents of $44,000 for a one-bedroom and almost $62,000 for a two-bedroom. Based on the same sample, I estimate annual rental income at The Village, after a 5% vacancy rate assumption, to exceed $15 million. In his article, the reporter noted the announcement of the sale of the apartment complex at a value twice the 2015 assessed value and that the delinquencies are not "likely" a matter of inadequate cash flow. The above data leads me to the same conclusion. To Carmel Partners and/or their acquirer, it is past time to pay up — including late fees. This is a legal obligation to the city of Mountain View and its residents.

The Rental Housing Committee (RHC), which administers the city's rent control program, has been well-managed in its almost three-year existence. As provided in the CSFRA, the city provided start-up funds to carry the RHC until the landlord fees began to be collected. Since then, 100% of those start-up funds were repaid, and the committee has funded its own operating needs. Said another way, the RHC has not cost the city one penny.

The only management concerns are these uncollected fees. This has all the appearances of normal collection activity. City staff has offered to help the RHC in its collection efforts. The CSFRA explicitly provides for penalties for landlord noncompliance and allows the RHC the assistance of the city attorney if needed. Committee members who are hesitant should bear in mind their fiduciary duty to Mountain View residents. It is not the RHC that is making an issue of the fees, it is the delinquent landlords. Let's get these amounts, from Carmel and others, collected.

Last, it's worth noting that the City Council-backed Measure D to amend the CSFRA is coming up on the March ballot. Under the first three years of the CSFRA, rents have increased an average of 3.5%. Expect two to three times that amount under the council plan, since renters will be asked to share capital costs of occupancy. Note as well that tucked inside that ballot measure is a little item having to do with RHC membership. The council has decided to eliminate the requirement in the current law that committee members be Mountain View residents. Considering the challenges of getting out-of-town owner-landlords to pay their fees, we should not vote for Measure D, which would allow landlords like Carmel Partners, who refuse to comply with our law, to run the RHC!

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Keating Rhoads is a Mountain View resident.

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Guest opinion: Time to collect rent control fees from delinquent landlords

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 14, 2020, 9:03 am

In the Dec. 6 edition, the Mountain View Voice reported on landlord rent control fee delinquencies. As noted in the article, the fee obligations — $101 per rental unit per year — are codified in the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA, also known as Measure V). The delinquencies are large, totaling over $100,000.

Forty-thousand dollars of the delinquency is due to non-payment by Carmel Partners, owners of The Village apartments on San Antonio Road. A sample of rents currently/recently on the market shows annual rents of $44,000 for a one-bedroom and almost $62,000 for a two-bedroom. Based on the same sample, I estimate annual rental income at The Village, after a 5% vacancy rate assumption, to exceed $15 million. In his article, the reporter noted the announcement of the sale of the apartment complex at a value twice the 2015 assessed value and that the delinquencies are not "likely" a matter of inadequate cash flow. The above data leads me to the same conclusion. To Carmel Partners and/or their acquirer, it is past time to pay up — including late fees. This is a legal obligation to the city of Mountain View and its residents.

The Rental Housing Committee (RHC), which administers the city's rent control program, has been well-managed in its almost three-year existence. As provided in the CSFRA, the city provided start-up funds to carry the RHC until the landlord fees began to be collected. Since then, 100% of those start-up funds were repaid, and the committee has funded its own operating needs. Said another way, the RHC has not cost the city one penny.

The only management concerns are these uncollected fees. This has all the appearances of normal collection activity. City staff has offered to help the RHC in its collection efforts. The CSFRA explicitly provides for penalties for landlord noncompliance and allows the RHC the assistance of the city attorney if needed. Committee members who are hesitant should bear in mind their fiduciary duty to Mountain View residents. It is not the RHC that is making an issue of the fees, it is the delinquent landlords. Let's get these amounts, from Carmel and others, collected.

Last, it's worth noting that the City Council-backed Measure D to amend the CSFRA is coming up on the March ballot. Under the first three years of the CSFRA, rents have increased an average of 3.5%. Expect two to three times that amount under the council plan, since renters will be asked to share capital costs of occupancy. Note as well that tucked inside that ballot measure is a little item having to do with RHC membership. The council has decided to eliminate the requirement in the current law that committee members be Mountain View residents. Considering the challenges of getting out-of-town owner-landlords to pay their fees, we should not vote for Measure D, which would allow landlords like Carmel Partners, who refuse to comply with our law, to run the RHC!

Keating Rhoads is a Mountain View resident.

Comments

Old Mtn Virw
Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:35 pm
Old Mtn Virw, Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:35 pm
19 people like this

MV Voice, let’s hear from some of the other half of the residents who don’t like rent control....

Every article here is “pro” ... we get it, the newspaper business is not well paid and many journalists are no long out of college and are predisposed to being in favor but that’s not your community. Why are the other voices not being represented?


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:43 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:43 pm
36 people like this

What happened to the law and order conservatives?

Oh yes, they break the laws whenever it suits them.

Bottom line, if you are not in compliance with the laws, you have no grounds to complain.


Croc Dundee
another community
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Croc Dundee, another community
on Jan 14, 2020 at 2:58 pm
8 people like this

The Business Man said:
"What happened to the law and order conservatives?"
The founder and CEO of Carmel Partners is Ron Zeff. Look up his political contributions and you will see that he donates primarily to Democrats.


The Business Man
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 3:38 pm
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 3:38 pm
30 people like this

Croc Dundee,

Donating to a democrat doesn't establish if you are not a conservative.

Schatz is not neccesarily a liberal in any way.

And he alos donated to the Romney Campaign. A VERY strong conservtive.

So lets not jump to conclusions.

WHEN ARE THESE PEOPLE GOING TO COMPLY WITH THE LAWS?


Common Sense
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Common Sense, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm
9 people like this

Place a lien against their properties. Why wasn't this done to begin with?


Greg David
Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2020 at 10:47 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2020 at 10:47 pm
7 people like this

Can we see the entire list?

It’s public information. Save us the trouble of FOIA requests.


Uh Huh
Rengstorff Park
on Jan 15, 2020 at 7:32 am
Uh Huh, Rengstorff Park
on Jan 15, 2020 at 7:32 am
9 people like this

Time to enforce the parking laws as well that have been on the books for years. No parking longer than 72 hours. Uh huh. Crickets is all you hear when requests to the city to enforce those laws are raised.


Andrea Gemmet
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
Andrea Gemmet, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
8 people like this

@Old Mountain Virw: We'd be more than happy to run a guest opinion with differing views on rent control. We're not withholding them, we just haven't gotten any recently. Guest opinion pieces need to be 600 words or less and signed by the author in order to be considered. You may send them to editor@mv-voice.com.


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