News

Landlord group vows to drop its rent control initiative if Measure D passes

City Council's changes to Mountain View rent stabilization law has important similarities to CAA's measure, spokesman says

A landlord group's ballot measure that would curtail Mountain View's existing rent control law could lose the support of its biggest backer, but only if voters pass a separate, city-sponsored measure to alter rent control this March.

An initiative making sweeping changes to Mountain View's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA) and sponsored by the California Apartment Association, the nation's largest landlord group, is due to appear on the November presidential ballot. It would impose income eligibility requirements for tenants, cap fees on landlords and, most significantly, suspend nearly all of Mountain View's existing renter protections unless the city's vacancy rate drops below 3% -- a rare and unlikely scenario.

The CAA-backed measure is seen by tenant advocates as an existential threat to the city's existing rent control law, who have dubbed it "the sneaky repeal." But there's a chance it won't go before voters in November after all. That's because the California Apartment Association announced this week that it will drop support for its own measure and cease campaigning on the condition that Measure D, put forth by the Mountain View City Council, wins voter approval in March.

The city-sponsored Measure D would also make a series of changes to CSFRA, taking a softer approach than the apartment association and leaving out language that would turn low vacancy into a kill switch. It would cap annual rent increases at 4% and would streamline the process through which property owners can pass the costs of certain capital improvements onto tenants.

Council members who back Measure D argued in November that the city's measure would serve as a more reasonable alternative, and expressed optimism that the apartment association would be willing to rescind its own ballot initiative. While no such arrangement existed at the time, Joshua Howard of the California Apartment Association told the Voice that the group is now prepared to settle for Measure D.

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"It is in the community's best interest that costly, divisive ballot fights be avoided if possible," Howard said in a statement. "As such, should the voters adopt Measure D in March 2020, the coalition will withdraw support for the Taxpayer Initiative."

The apartment association's measure, dubbed the Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Act, was first drafted in early 2018, kicking off an expensive signature-gathering campaign funded largely by apartment owners in Mountain View. The initiative received the required 5,150 signatures to qualify, but missed a key deadline to submit signatures in time for the November 2018 ballot.

The rental housing landscape has changed significantly since then. Not only is the city proposing its own, softer changes to CSFRA, but the state of California passed its own package of renter protections. The most comprehensive in the raft of state legislation approved last year is AB 1482, which imposes an annual rent cap of 5% plus the rate of inflation and just-cause eviction requirements for removing tenants who have been living in the same apartment for 12 months or longer.

Measure D has a lot of important similarities to the apartment association's measure, Howard said, arguing that both make it easier to improve aging apartments and keep the older units "affordable, safe and available." He concedes that Measure D is not perfect, but will still encourage investment in the existing housing supply.

"With Measure D's passage, the community, housing providers and elected leaders can focus on real solutions to the region's housing crisis -- the addition of affordable homes for the working families of Mountain View," Howard said.

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Landlord group vows to drop its rent control initiative if Measure D passes

City Council's changes to Mountain View rent stabilization law has important similarities to CAA's measure, spokesman says

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Jan 23, 2020, 10:24 am

A landlord group's ballot measure that would curtail Mountain View's existing rent control law could lose the support of its biggest backer, but only if voters pass a separate, city-sponsored measure to alter rent control this March.

An initiative making sweeping changes to Mountain View's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA) and sponsored by the California Apartment Association, the nation's largest landlord group, is due to appear on the November presidential ballot. It would impose income eligibility requirements for tenants, cap fees on landlords and, most significantly, suspend nearly all of Mountain View's existing renter protections unless the city's vacancy rate drops below 3% -- a rare and unlikely scenario.

The CAA-backed measure is seen by tenant advocates as an existential threat to the city's existing rent control law, who have dubbed it "the sneaky repeal." But there's a chance it won't go before voters in November after all. That's because the California Apartment Association announced this week that it will drop support for its own measure and cease campaigning on the condition that Measure D, put forth by the Mountain View City Council, wins voter approval in March.

The city-sponsored Measure D would also make a series of changes to CSFRA, taking a softer approach than the apartment association and leaving out language that would turn low vacancy into a kill switch. It would cap annual rent increases at 4% and would streamline the process through which property owners can pass the costs of certain capital improvements onto tenants.

Council members who back Measure D argued in November that the city's measure would serve as a more reasonable alternative, and expressed optimism that the apartment association would be willing to rescind its own ballot initiative. While no such arrangement existed at the time, Joshua Howard of the California Apartment Association told the Voice that the group is now prepared to settle for Measure D.

"It is in the community's best interest that costly, divisive ballot fights be avoided if possible," Howard said in a statement. "As such, should the voters adopt Measure D in March 2020, the coalition will withdraw support for the Taxpayer Initiative."

The apartment association's measure, dubbed the Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Act, was first drafted in early 2018, kicking off an expensive signature-gathering campaign funded largely by apartment owners in Mountain View. The initiative received the required 5,150 signatures to qualify, but missed a key deadline to submit signatures in time for the November 2018 ballot.

The rental housing landscape has changed significantly since then. Not only is the city proposing its own, softer changes to CSFRA, but the state of California passed its own package of renter protections. The most comprehensive in the raft of state legislation approved last year is AB 1482, which imposes an annual rent cap of 5% plus the rate of inflation and just-cause eviction requirements for removing tenants who have been living in the same apartment for 12 months or longer.

Measure D has a lot of important similarities to the apartment association's measure, Howard said, arguing that both make it easier to improve aging apartments and keep the older units "affordable, safe and available." He concedes that Measure D is not perfect, but will still encourage investment in the existing housing supply.

"With Measure D's passage, the community, housing providers and elected leaders can focus on real solutions to the region's housing crisis -- the addition of affordable homes for the working families of Mountain View," Howard said.

Comments

you know who I am
Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:35 am
you know who I am, Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:35 am
40 people like this

So let me get this straight — the California Apartments Association, whose sole reason for existing is to maximize the profit of landlords, has suddenly found a soft spot for community unity?

And now, instead of taking their chance to outright KILL rent control in Mountain View, they would be willing to settle for a “compromise” solution in Measure D??

In my mind, this can only mean two things:

1. Measure D has the potential over time to be just as bad for renters as their sneaky repeal, OR;


2. They’ve run the numbers and they know that the sneaky repeal would be fried burned toast against voters in November


Don’t fall for this guys, rents won’t just go up by 4% — under Measure D, landlords would be able to raise rents UP TO 10% EACH YEAR because it allows them to send the bill for property maintenance and “upgrades” like new countertops to renters. In Oakland they started calling them “renovictions” (lol, sad)

AND, since landlords can bring the rents back up to market rate once a tenant “leaves”, if they can get enough of us out at 10% a year and then jack the rents up by $1,000 a month, they’ve made out pretty well for themselves don’t you think?

Regardless, this isn’t just what I think is happening. I think they see the fact that Mountain View is a majority renter city with a homeowner community that understands we need diverse sources of labor to keep our economy growing.



I think they know that both of their Measures are not going to pass the sniff test of Mountain View’s well-informed voters and they just want to wave their sneaky repeal around pretending they have pocket aces left to play when all they’ve got is a junk hand.

Time to call their bluff. Hold strong everyone, and vote NO on Measure D!


@you know who I am
Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm
@you know who I am, Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm
25 people like this

There will be a lot of bloviating from your side, too bad that none of you will be telling the truth. Your typical game plan is to scare people to death and tell them the sky is falling.

If Mountain View would wake up tomorrow and there was No Measure V, (our local rent control) there still would be rent control, under the new state law.

Even under Measure V, the state caps what percentage that rents can go up. Mountain View can not exceed that, no matter what.


Jessica Williams
Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:14 pm
Jessica Williams, Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:14 pm
47 people like this

It sounds like the California apartment association is trying to blackmail Mountain View voters


@Jessica Williams
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:16 pm
@Jessica Williams, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:16 pm
22 people like this

That's exactly what I thought when I read this.


some bloke
Cuernavaca
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm
some bloke, Cuernavaca
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm
18 people like this

^ state "rent control" also has a max 10% increase. The max increase in Mountain View under Measure V is limited to inflation, which has never been higher than 3.6%

Why would anyone trade Mountain View's better rent control for the state version? They don't even call it rent control, they call it "anti-gouging"

That would not make the sky fall down, but for a lot of people it would be a lot easier to see the sky because the roof above their heads would vanish


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 1:22 pm
26 people like this

There are two official proponents of the measure who have the legal authority to withdraw it - not Mr. Howard or his group. One of the official proponents is former Mayor and Councilmember John Inks. As I have explained previously: Mr. Inks and his co-proponent may conditionally withdraw the measure NOW - the condition being passage of Measure D. If there is no conditional withdrawal, there is no reason to expect a withdrawal later. Pretty simple.


John
Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm
John, Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm
10 people like this

We can all be skeptical about this but lets remember that CAA will spend millions of dollars to get their way and they dont care if they lose...this is a big concession on their part and the big money donors who back them. And, who cares Inks and Danforth do becase without CAA's money, there will be no campaign for the measure. The Nov measure will divide the community and likley be more intense and contentious than Measure V was.

Measure D is ok...even Lucas Ramirez didnt seem too bothered by it which tells me the renters and progressives think its a fair deal.


Alex Nunez
Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm
Alex Nunez, Shoreline West
on Jan 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm
25 people like this

Let me set the record straight on Lucas Ramirez -- he voted NO on the council vote that put Measure D on the ballot. So did Alison Hicks.

It's in the public record for anyone to see.


Observer
Slater
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Observer, Slater
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:47 pm
11 people like this

So they voted No to a .5 rent increase (from 3.5 to 4 percent), the potential to streamline the paperwork for seismic retrofitting and to include the mobile home parks into the rent control program? So only apartment renters deserve coverage an not mobile home park renters? You call that progressive? Yikes.


Tired
Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm
Tired, Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm
26 people like this

So the CAA thinks Measure D is a suitable enough replacement for their Sneaky Repeal? The one written by extremely anti-rent control council members working with landlords despite protests from residents?

[Insert sarcasm here] Why am I not surprised? Oh yes, because obviously they aren't that different.

Mountain View voters are too smart for this crap, can the CAA leave our community alone, please? I'm a moderate, and I'm tired of the CAA locally and Trump nationally, trying to parade around as if this isn't clearly ridiculous and just constant attempts to deceive. I mean extorting Mountain View voters!?!? I'm honestly just exhausted by the constant nonsense. If anyone from the CAA is reading this, go on vacation! read a book! spend time with your family! stop badgering us


Funny
Rex Manor
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm
Funny, Rex Manor
on Jan 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm
18 people like this

"Promise" Yeah right. This "promise" is not legally binding, even if we should care what an outside group thinks.


Landlords
Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm
Landlords, Waverly Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm
28 people like this

Landlords here can't help themselves from lying. Why should we trust them?

As Alex points out, Lucas and Alison voted against Measure D, so saying that the measure now-endorsed by landlords is acceptable to them is quite the lie.

Observer, Measure D explicitly EXCLUDES mobile homes from rent protection, so now that you've been informed of that, surely you will reject it and stop spreading misinformation, right?

"The City Council also decided in a last-minute amendment to explicitly exclude mobile homes from the city's rental protections" see the Voice article on Measure D.


Gladys
Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Gladys, Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm
7 people like this

Measure D is very simple, SO PAY ATTENTION CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS.

If the people vote NO on D, then they are saying that they do not want the mandatory seismic retrofit work done on those apartments.

Chris Clark, your own personal opinion on making this mandatory means nothing and you need to drop it if Measure D is voted down. Otherwise, I would support a mass civil disobedience in defiance over any such ordinance.


@Gladys
Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:40 pm
@Gladys, Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:40 pm
9 people like this

Just to be clear, Gladys, what do you mean when you say civil disobedience? Are you suggesting that landlords should disobey the law to retrofit their buildings, putting the lives of all their tenants at risk? I can't imagine that a landlord would suggest such a thing, since these housing providers have their tenants best interests at heart. Please clarify!


The Successful Businessman
Whisman Station
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:57 pm
The Successful Businessman, Whisman Station
on Jan 23, 2020 at 6:57 pm
20 people like this

As a former five decade landlord in Mountain View, no regrets bailing on MV. Perish at your own hands, landlords and tenants. What a total cluster f*&k when the real problem is too many people, invited here by city hall--without a moment's thought to the consequences of approving MILLIONS of square feet of commercial development--which continues!


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jan 23, 2020 at 8:10 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jan 23, 2020 at 8:10 pm
12 people like this

Just an observation:

SB330 has destroyed the CAA position regarding that the landlords will remove all apartments from the market. The state laws prevent it now.

This has been the only argument that made any sense in the past. But now that is gone.

The reality is that their ballot question will fail given the criminal history of violence that we observed in the recent past. That criminal case4 is still in the process.

Also the fact that there are no landlords living in Mountain View now, including Vanessa Honey who had to resign from the RHC because she moved has left the landlords in a more vulnerable position.

The CSFRA allows for as much as 2 persons who are property managers or landlords. But that is not a guaranty if there are no one who are qualified to fill the position.

The new ballot question should be rejected because it proposes that out of town people will be allowed to have direct conflict of interest regarding their own property.

None of these questions should be approved by the citizens of Mountain View.


Steven Nelson
Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
on Jan 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm
5 people like this

Read your darn PAPER paper. Page one of the Jan 24th Voice. MAK as a Democratic suburbanite member, looses to the forces of the Democratic middle (+ left). Good catch reporter Kevin.


just_jay
Shoreline West
on Jan 24, 2020 at 7:12 am
just_jay, Shoreline West
on Jan 24, 2020 at 7:12 am
5 people like this

Re: Mobile home housing. Yes, it was not included in the last city council action, but it doesn't mean the council has given up on them. It is on the agenda for next Tuesday's city council meeting. See agenda at Web Link


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:01 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:01 am
13 people like this

The agenda item is a STUDY SESSION - NOT ANY ACTION. The staff report states that a rent control ordinance for mobile home parks might be brought forward as soon as "Q2" "Q2" begins after the March 3 election - on APRIL FOOLS DAY. How appropriate!


Lenny Siegel
Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:07 am
Lenny Siegel, Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2020 at 10:07 am
13 people like this

@just_jay
Did you read the staff report for Tuesday's Council study session on Mobile Home Rent Stabilization? It recommends that Council wait for the results of the Measure D election before deciding how to address mobile home spaces in an ordinance. If the voters approve the Council's proposal to allow larger rent increases, then the Council will apply those weaker standards to mobile homes - that is, if they do anything at all.


@Lenny Seigel
Bailey Park
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:41 am
@Lenny Seigel, Bailey Park
on Jan 24, 2020 at 11:41 am
24 people like this

You said,
"If the voters approve the Council's proposal to allow larger rent increases, then the Council will apply those weaker standards to mobile homes"

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am calling you on your "larger rent increases" statement. You are just trying to scare people again.

Current amount allowed for rent increase is 3.6%, which under the law it is allowed to go to 5%.

Under Measure D the allowable rent increase is capped at 4%, which is below what is currently allowed under Measure V, which again is 5%.

If a person is paying $1,500 rent a month, the difference in dollar amount that can be raised under the current law and Measure D is $6.00.

Under the current law that same rent increase difference, 5%, can go as high as $15 a month compared to measure D.

To have a fixed price under measure D is a good insurance policy, IMHO,as it is a small amount dollar wise, $6 in my example.

I will support and vote for Measure D.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:02 pm
11 people like this

Under the new state laws the CAA cannot use their threats they used to and did when Measure V was on the ballot.

THey threated evictions, selling their proerties to developers, and even use undocumented status to threaten their tenants during the election.

CSFRA prevents no fault evictions, and requires higher standards for at fault eveictions. And SB330 prevents removal of affordable units at least for the next 5 years.

THe CAA is finding itself in no position to threaten anyone anymore. And the proliferation of more rent control is inevitable.


Just tell the truth already
Sylvan Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:10 am
Just tell the truth already, Sylvan Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 11:10 am
16 people like this

Does everyone remember how the CAA got The sneaky repeal on the ballot?

They hired signature gatherers to LIE to voters to who they paid $40 for each signature!

They visited Mobile Home residents and LIED to seniors saying it would cover mobile home. $40 a signature. People had to actually file to remove their signatures because of these LIES and misinformation.

The title of the measure is even a LIE trying to make it sounds like it offers protection when anyone with half a brain can see it is a repeal.

The CAA track record is one of telling lies. This is just another.

We need to kick the CAA, and any politicians they bought, out of our town. They are the problem, not the residents.


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:25 pm
7 people like this

Measure D would up to 10% with qualified capital expenditures. And that is just for rental units that do not turn over. The rent for vacated units may be set now, under Measure D and under the new state law AT WHATEVER THE MARKET WILL BEAR. It is called VACANCY DE-CONTROL. Landlords with turnover continue to make money hand over fist.


a community member
North Bayshore
on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm
a community member, North Bayshore
on Jan 25, 2020 at 12:59 pm
5 people like this

I hope the city is sincere in trying to protect the most vulnerable form of affordable housing Mountain View, the mobile home communities.

In those communities, residents buy their homes, residents pay full property tax, residents pay for their own repairs and seismic upgrades, and while they pay rent for the space to put their home, contrary to their name, these homes are not movable, and each time the rent goes up, the property value goes down, all the while, the landowners buy and rent out mobile homes themselves (see here Web Link), so raising the rent allows them to buy homes from vulnerable residents at a discount.

If the focus was on taking care of the most easily exploited residents first, mobile home residents should be first on the list.


A resident
Cuesta Park
on Jan 27, 2020 at 7:15 am
A resident, Cuesta Park
on Jan 27, 2020 at 7:15 am
1 person likes this

Mountain View and other local cities need to put their energy into providing safe,fast and convenient high speed commute services from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.
Since I visit Central Valley a bit, I see lots and lots of people commuting in cars; some even from Stockton. A train service which in < 1hr brings people into Silicon Valley should be the goal.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:35 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jan 28, 2020 at 1:35 pm
Like this comment

In response to A resident you said:

“Mountain View and other local cities need to put their energy into providing safe,fast and convenient high speed commute services from the Central Valley to Silicon Valley.”

That is a great idea. But the city cannot do that. That is a “County” or “State” jurisdiction issue. What your proposing is to give money collected by the City of mountain view to another town? Or worse, “subsidizing” the profits of landlords that are not even citizens of the City. There is a limit to what the City can do, and that is not in the scope of he city. You also said:

“Since I visit Central Valley a bit, I see lots and lots of people commuting in cars; some even from Stockton. A train service which in < 1hr brings people into Silicon Valley should be the goal.”

Again, I think you have a good idea. But I have problems with the logistics. You are going to have to possibly remove businesses and homes so that the “railways” can be laid down to achieve that goal. What is the real problem is that the current layout needs to be “GREATLY” cleared so that better land use and better effective use of the land can be achieved.

Did you ever play the oldest version of SimCity. There were times you had to destroy a large part of your city to fix problems being reported by the simulator. This is what needs to be done today.

Current buildings surrounding the highways need to be removed to properly lay out the highways we need to commute. That means these businesses and homes have to be moved.


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