In the three years that the CSFRA has been in effect, many implementation issues have been worked through. Still outstanding are rent protection for mobile homes and seismic upgrades for soft-story apartment buildings. Measure D doesn't address either issue, but the Mountain View City Council has the power to fix both. By making seismic upgrades mandatory, landlords would be able to include those costs in CSFRA's fair rate of return calculations. The council recently directed city staff to prepare an ordinance for mobile home rent protection.
The CSFRA allows landlords to get a fair rate of return. When a tenant moves out, the landlord can rent the unit at market rate. From talking to landlords, I understand that tenant turnover is more than 30% per year. Landlords can also petition for a higher rent if they can show the increase is necessary for a fair rate of return.
As vice mayor in 2015 and mayor in 2016, I listened to hundreds of people testify about the horrors of getting evicted, of watching their friends get evicted, and the fear of reporting any maintenance needs because it would lead to rent increases or eviction. We heard story after story of people getting their rents raised three and four times in a single year. The council chambers were filled with fear and anger, but also hope that something could be done to alleviate the eviction crisis. After listening to so many stories, it became clear that the two issues were evictions for no reason and runaway rent increases. The high rents and evictions forced many long-term residents to leave the community they loved.
Tenant advocates organized, and drafted Measure V to stop runaway rents and evictions without cause. A large coalition of housing advocates, tenants, clergy and lawyers from the Stanford Law Clinic worked for weeks to draft the CSFRA. Their meetings were well publicized so anyone interested could attend. Over 80 people attended the meeting where the concepts were laid out. Then they collected the ballot-qualifying signatures and it passed, becoming a part of our city's charter.
The implementation phase has not been as smooth as most of us would have liked. That said, after three years, it's working. The CSFRA is doing its job of protecting people from eviction without a reason and from runaway rent increases. About 13,500 units are protected from large rent increases by CSFRA. Most apartment dwellers can only be evicted for a just cause such as failure to pay rent. Please join me in voting no on Measure D.
Pat Showalter is a Mountain View resident and former mayor of Mountain View.
This story contains 605 words.
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