The number of projects that displace residents living in rent control-covered units in Mountain View has declined in recent years, according to city data.
At an Oct. 17 Rental Housing Committee meeting, city staff presented an update on the city’s Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinance (TRAO), which offers benefits to renters who live in Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA)-protected units and are displaced by redevelopment. Staff also presented updates on the state law SB 330 which, among other protections, requires developers to replace demolished CSFRA-covered units with affordable units.
Between the city’s ordinance and SB 330, hundreds of residents have qualified for relocation benefits. And since SB 330 came into effect in January 2020, the number of projects that displace tenants living in rent control-covered units has significantly declined.
“SB 330 makes a lot of those demolition projects not viable, not financially feasible (for developers),” Rental Housing Committee member Emily Ann Ramos told the Voice after the meeting. “... SB 330 was a godsend because the city was not able to implement their local provisions in time to stop the number of displacement projects we were looking at.”
That said, Ramos added, SB 330 is slated to expire in 2030, so “it really does help to have a localized ordinance so we can be more specific to the needs of residents,” she said.
Impact of tenant protections
Depending on tenants’ income levels and whether the project is subject to TRAO, SB 330, or both, different benefits are available. In cases where both TRAO and SB 330 apply, the stricter provision of the two laws applies, indicated in this graph by the shaded areas. If both boxes are shaded then the tenant would receive both benefits.
At the Oct. 17 meeting, city rent stabilization analyst Andrea Kennedy provided an update on previously approved projects that either already have or are slated to displace tenants, the benefits those tenants are entitled to and data on where already displaced tenants have ended up.
Ongoing redevelopment projects that are expected to displace tenants
1851 Charleston Rd.
This redevelopment is part of a larger Google endeavor to construct office buildings. Four CSFRA-covered units are set to be demolished to construct a parking lot for that new office building. Because no replacement housing is going to be built, Kennedy explained, this project is only subject to the city’s TRAO, not SB 330.
The vacate date for displaced tenants is set for June 1, 2023, and they’ll receive benefits as outlined in the above graph.
1919-1945 Gamel Way
This project is set to demolish all 29 rent control-covered units on the property, and will construct 121 ownership condos.
“While this project is actually only subject to the TRAO, because it started before SB 330, as part of the negotiations with the city to purchase that actual street of Gamel Way, they developed benefits that mirror SB 330,” Kennedy said.
As a result, the project is currently on hold because the developer is trying to determine if the project is financially feasible.
“The current vacate date is set for Jan. 31, 2023, but the developer again has indicated that they will continue to push that out if need be,” Kennedy said. “If the project ends up not moving forward, the original tenants will have the first right to return back into their original unit.”
870 E. El Camino Real
This project site includes 180 CSFRA-covered units, but the developer is only proposing to demolish 42 of those units. The demolished units will be replaced by two six-story buildings that hold 233 rental units.
The project is subject to both TRAO and SB 330, so depending on the tenant’s income, they may be eligible for different levels of relocation assistance, as outlined in the above graph. SB 330 also requires that the 42 demolished CSFRA units be replaced with units that are affordable. Former tenants earning 80% AMI or less will have the first right to return to those units at an affordable rent. No termination notices have been issued to tenants yet.
Recent redevelopment projects that have concluded tenant relocation
660 Mariposa Ave.
In 2019, the Mountain View City Council approved a 226-unit development at 696-1758 Villa St., which was required to include 34 on-site below market rate (BMR) units.
“As part of an alternate mitigation plan for providing all of those BMR units on site, the developer actually proposed to the city council to rehabilitate the 48 naturally affordable CSFRA covered units that are at 660 Mariposa,” Kennedy said.
The rehabilitation began at the end of 2021, and tenants were temporarily relocated while the units were being remodeled. The renovations were completed in September 2022, and all the tenants have moved back into their remodeled units.
570 S. Rengstorff Ave.
This project demolished 70 rent control-covered units, and in their place constructed 92 rowhomes. It was only subject to TRAO because it started before SB 330 came into effect. The final vacate date for tenants was Sept. 30, 2021.
Forty households applied for relocation assistance under TRAO, and all who applied were deemed eligible. The households received a total of more than $600,000 in relocation assistance. Of the 40 households who applied, 27 relocated within Mountain View, 11 relocated within the broader Bay Area, one moved to another California city, and one moved out of state.
777 W. Middlefield Road
This project resulted in the demolition of 208 CSFRA-covered rental units, and is slated to construct 716 new units. The project was only subject to TRAO because it started before SB 330 came into effect. The final vacate date for tenants displaced by this project was Aug. 1, 2021.
“For this project, the developer actually offered enhanced relocation benefits to all of their tenants,” Kennedy said. “So this included $10,000 for all households, $12,500 for households earning between 80% and 120% AMI, and then $15,000 for households earning less than 80% AMI. This was above the standard 2017 TRAO.”
In total, the developer gave over $1.8 million in benefits to 150 displaced households who applied for relocation assistance. Of the 150 households who applied, 50 relocated within Mountain View, 73 in the greater Bay Area, four in another California city, 20 out of state, and three out of the country.