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As rents rise, struggling tenants face uncertain future

Original post made on Aug 9, 2013

As rents in their once-affordable neighborhood skyrocket, longtime apartment dwellers on Mountain View's California Street say they have no good options.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 9, 2013, 10:31 AM

Comments (41)

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Posted by JOHNINKZ
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 9, 2013 at 10:54 am

The mayor said that minimum wage is enough to get by on in the bay area. There is absolutely no need for rent control in Mountain View.

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Posted by undrgrndgirl
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 10:55 am

i stopped reading when the teen daughter claimed that "white" people have everything they want...while it might seem that way, it is not true. i am white, i grew up here, i was a single parent and struggled to raise my kid here and, like many of my generation have struggled to stay here. not every white person makes 100k in the tech sector.

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Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2013 at 11:13 am

Relocate to a lower rent area, business is business.

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Posted by Marco Polo
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2013 at 11:49 am

I've always lived in complexes with pools, but I never use the pool. In fact, I hate the pool because it draws more people to an already crowded complex. Enough with the pools! It's always listed as a premium, but I only stay here for the in-apartment laundry.

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Posted by incognito
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Wow, I've worked with very-low income children in our schools for many, many years and have NEVER heard a child even suggest that they think "white people have everything." I hope this comment is the opinion of this one girl who was interviewed for the story, as I would have a very difficult time believing that this attitude is typical of low-income Latinos. Just my observation.

What IS typical is entire families living in one bedroom. And in my experience they are some of the kindest, hardworking, most gracious and grateful people I've ever met.

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Posted by David Speakman
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm

There is a desperate housing shortage in Mountain View - and yet every time someone tries to build more housing - especially along transit corridors liek El Camino Real, the NIMBY folks start screaming for it to stop it.

According to Trulia and Zillow - the average 3-bedroom, 2-bath home price in 2013 in the United States is $152 thousand.

In Mountain View - the *only* home you can buy for that amount of money is in a trailer park - and it will be an older mobile home.


The fastest way to kill off our tech economy is to keep doing what we are doing ... resisting denser housing construction and making it too expensive for tech companies to stay here because housing is so expensive that workers can't afford to live here.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Sorry, if expensive housing was going to kill off the tech companies in the bay are they'd be long dead.

We've had some of the most expensive housing in the entire United States for decades now and as far as I can tell the tech companies keep on coming.

But then again, I'm white. I have everything I want.

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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Supply and Demand establishes prices. Mountain View is a great place to live so there is high demand. If we continue to build high-density apartment buildings all across the city, the quality of life will go down and so will the demand. I would like to live in Los Altos Hills but accept the fact that I have not been successful enough to afford to buy a $4 to %5 million dollar home. I don't whine over housing prices like some do. Its a matter of choice - If you want low cost housing move to Tennessee!

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Posted by Tina
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I <3 my 2 Bd mobilehome = $700/month housing cost - in Mountain View. And I'm white. And we live in fear that the city will rezone the land so Prometheus can fill it up with $6000/month 1 Bd apartments. Again, I say, why not clean up Moffett field & put housing there, or open up the existing housing that is there? It seems severely under-utilized... Just think what Prometheus could do with that.

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Posted by Theresa
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Hallajuah undrgrndgirl! I could not have said it better myself. I thought "wow is she mis-informed!!" But she's only 16, she'll learn.

My question is, are they legal??

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Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

This series of articles is simply a form of damage control for the pro-growth, maximun density policies of the current regime. If they can generate enough sympathy with these tales of the downtrodden, maybe the masses will forget that their quality of life has been sold out from under them.

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Posted by @david speakerman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Thank God for NIMBYs, they are the reason your 2 hr drive to work is only 2hrs and not 4hrs.

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Posted by Norma
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 9, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I am dissapointed that comment was made. I respect people's oppinion but it is not shared by all of us. My circumstances are no one's "fault" by mine. This is supposed to be about rent control not about race. To the person that asked if we were illegals, no I am an American Citizen.

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Posted by Marti
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm

There is a house, near where I live, that is on the market for $2,250,000. It is at 587 Sleeper Ave...... One House that sold for a million dollars, was torn down and is now being rebuilt, bigger and gigantic. Many people are coming to Mountain View from India, China and Asia with cash to buy. So its not only Google.

2 people like this
Posted by Mel
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Shame on Theresa. What kind if question is that? Yuk!!

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Posted by Paul S
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I've lived in Mountain View since the mid 1980s and at my present apartment since the late 1990s. I live in a four unit place; a house up front and three apartments in back. The amenities are limited to a laundry room equipped with one washer, one dryer and one hot water heater for the three apartments and the laundry room.

On April 1, I was notified that my rent would be going up by 14.23%.
On July 7, I was notified that on Sept. 7, my rent would go up by an additional 43.75%. So, going from my initial rent prior to the first of these rent increases to what my final rent will be is a 60+% rent increase. Reprehensible, disrespectful, greedy, but legal.

The people in the apartment below me moved in a few months ago, so I'm assuming (could be wrong, though) they are on a lease. The people next to me and the people in the house up front are moving out.

I am also looking for a new place to live. We are all legal (for those disrespectful people concerned about this) and we are all hard working people. I work at SLAC (a research lab run by Stanford U. and funded by the D.O.E.) and have been there for almost 25 years.
For what I make at my present job (not that great by any stretch of the imagination), the new rent for my place is going to be a hardship.

There are two things I can do and I am going to do both of them; look for a new place to live and look for a new job that pays better.

I would like to say that I wish the owner of the property I live on and the management company all the best, but I don't!


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Posted by Zoidberg
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

A couple of points:
1) If some level of rent stabilization is enabled, I'd like to see in terms of "no more than 20% increase per lease renewal". Simply freezing the amount of rent people pay just makes a market for sublets, and doesn't solve the problem of people paying a lot. Also, additional renter protections would be nice -- things like, "If the landlord isn't planning to rent out your apartment again, you get your full security deposit back."

2) I'd also like to see a special on all of the little houses in and around the area that are renting at outrageous amounts. It isn't just Prometheus, but the hundreds of single-home landlords. These are likely even more of a problem due to on-street parking, and horrible energy efficiency. Which of these small house rental landlords ever cares about insulation or replacing windows?

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Posted by stan starling
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2013 at 10:41 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Housing demand has always been a thorn in the bay area and has been a problem before Google. Anti growth, NIMBY, preserve the neighborhood, town, city and county folks. We would have built housing in Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Half Moon Bay and Sunol instead housing is being built elsewhere. Yuba City, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Lathrop, Mountain House and Patterson.

I know people talked about bring back manufacturing jobs back to the bay area, all sorts of industry. Why would you? The housing prices are bad, traffic is bad, gas prices are bad and food prices are high. We think we are going to get rid of profit, tell people they can't sell their home for market value, rent according to the market, profit on their investments.

OK, didn't they try that in a country called the U.S.S.R., where the state controlled all products. You still had people getting better jobs, housing and food.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

@stan starling

No, its not Google. its supply and demand being thrown off because, as demand has risen over the past 40 years, supply hasn't.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

My old apartment in MV is 1500, you know what is funny? This was a problem in 1986 and Google wasn't even around then. The BBS which was crude, home computer weren't as big and the cell phone, do I need to say bigger then my shoe.

You had high demand, low supply, low income worker families living altogether and home prices creeping upward. The commute was long, you could find good new housing in Pleasanton, San Francisco was the business center of the Bay Area. I told people get ready for Silicon Valley's big boom in the future, give it 20 to 30 years.

Most people then viewed as a farming place, not much will come from the Valley.

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Posted by Moffett Resident
a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Speaking of mobile homes and affordable housing - check this article in today's Mercury News: Web Link. Mountain View's favorite developer, Prometheus, is proposing to buy the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, some of the last affordable housing in PA, level it, and put up yet another "luxury" apartment complex. Whether it's there or at Moffett, these developers will not be putting up affordable housing. This kind of high density development is not the solution. We should be looking for balance, and quality of life.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:06 am

BV Trailer Park seriously needs to be brought up to code which also means some of the trailers need to be replaced. Yes we are talking about low income housing but it seems ever time a plan to build housing, a fight against the plan will ensure.

BV has 400 people living there, which means suitable housing must be found for them and not to mention all the others. I feel bad about people losing their homes for high end homes.

The Village at San Antonio, Madera, City Center, 100 Moffett, Castro and El Camino Real, not mention the Trop, other El Camino Real housing projects will not displace low income residents

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Posted by Confused
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:57 am

I find it really odd that this article and the "Huge demand for pricey new apartments" article was published within 3 minutes of each other.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

The most striking thing about Mountain View is the complete lack of forethought. I've been here now for seven years, and it gets more like SHAUN OF THE DEAD every day.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

This is an issue of supply and demand. There is a lot of demand for nicer apartments due to the influx of high tech professionals in the area. However, there hasn't been any new apartments built in the last several years so the high tech workers are forced to rent in the older California Ave apartment complexes which drives up the rent for the lower income families already living there.

I was in the same boat 6 years ago, however the rental market wasn't as hot back then so I was able to find a nice condo from a private owner for a few hundred dollars more. I was willing to pay a little more to live in a nicer building with in-unit laundry and gated parking. So if the city of Mountain View really wants to help the struggling families, allow more apartment complexes to be built. The people who can afford the higher rent will move into the new buildings which will lower the demand on the older complexes.

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Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

From what I understand some of these apartments have been sold to new landlords. You can't expect to pay the same 1990's prices (which yielded the previous owner a profit, after rent prices increased to the point where they could stop subsidizing the renter and earn a profit) when the new owner paid more than double what the previous one paid. The new owner made the purchase based on current demand and rents. I guess they should just take a loss on the property so that people can save money on rentals in cities the renters can not afford?

It seems to me that there are greedy entitled renters out there. I moved out of Mountain View when I could no longer afford nor wanted to pay the high rents and moved to a cheaper area I could afford to live in. It really isn't that hard.

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Posted by Mountain View since1980
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Not everyone can live in certain areas and this applies to many expensive cities. I don't expect to buy or rend in expensive areas of Tokyo and neither should people who cannot pay the going rate. They can find cheaper areas to rent. This is what I would have to do too in some expensive cities.

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Posted by Scott Lamb
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 15, 2013 at 10:52 am

I still don't understand why they stay here. Okay, East Palo Alto is not a great place, but why stay in the Bay Area at all? There are safe places with lower cost of living and similar wages for these kinds of jobs. The article suggests these tenants want to stay near their friends and family. But many of them are immigrants. By definition, they have already moved far from friends and family to find opportunity. (I have, too, fwiw.) Why is it different here and now?

Also, Candelaria's daughter mentioned she doesn't qualify for free lunches. Children who don't eat well don't learn well, so that's really unfortunate. Who sets those standards? Is it at the national/state level, or could city/county officials adjust the threshold to be more appropriate for Mountain View?

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Posted by John David Stutts
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I find it amazing as to how poorly Mpintain View's overpaid public servants plan for the region.

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Posted by Rent control no help
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

City-wide rent control will only help a handful of struggling families. It will also help many highly paid tech employees keep more of their money, and encourage even more to move here, so rents will still increase the max allowed, likely still exceeding any salary increases at the bottom (this is a problem is SF right now). A better, more targeted solution might be more social programs to help those at the bottom afford other necessities like food, clothing, better support through the schools, etc, easing the burden on the other end. More developer requirements for BMR units could help also. At least this way you know the help is going to those who really need it.

Bottom line is MV is a wonderful place to live and it's not surprising that people of all income levels want to live here. It is impossible to enable everyone who wants to live here to do so, and I don't believe MV or any other city should feel the responsibility to do so.

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Posted by RentControlisGood
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2013 at 3:05 am

"City-wide rent control will only help a handful of struggling families. "

What do you know? Do you understand that landlords all over the city are jacking up the rents as high as possible? Do you understand that there are many houses in Mountain view being rented out by folks that have moved away and are using the rents as income?

The end result is that Mountain View is turning into a city of transients. Is that the type of town you want to live in?

Rent control will allow the rents to stabilize over years. It will also encourage the sale of houses that can no longer dramatically increase rents.

It will negatively impact home prices, so the council and many homeowners are against it. However, most of these people don't even live here anymore and are just earning money off of someone elses hard work.

On the plus side, it will allow people to come and live here, rent and even purchase!

You can say that it is too late for rent control, but I think that is short-sided. You have to think 10+ years in advance. Long term planning.... Anyone up for that?

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Posted by
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Balance of Demand and supply is purely capitalism. That is what we have in US today. I am not complaining because I can't afford house in central Manhattan or Atherton, why are other people complaining they can't afford to live in Mountain View?

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Posted by B
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

There is clearly a supply and demand issue in the area right now. Rent is still low compared to buying but it has risen so much in the last three years! My neighbor is listing a 2bed/2bath 1000 sqft row house for $3,700! That's smaller than my 2bed/2bath condo in the same neighborhood which I only pay $2100. I know I'm paying a lot below market. If my rent goes up, I'm going to pay it of course because I like where I live and can afford it but the families profiled in this article aren't as lucky so they either have to pay or move. In the end, only landlords benefit.

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Posted by PoliticalInsider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2013 at 9:29 am

2bd2ba condos are actually around 1700 as mine is including HOA fees depends when you purchased. Recent purchase about $450,000 (older units aka Cypress and at Rengstorff, new units will cost you double and that is for the well to do)value and at 20% down at current interest rates its about your $2100 number. Don't forget too that needs to be recalculated, we in homes that own can deduct mortgage interest and property taxes. So it gets better by about 10% for yours actual value then is about $1900 and mine is about $1550. Taking that into account and that a renter gets nothing to deduct, its about double in cost making home ownership still the best option.

The issues for the poor however are they don't have the down payment. In cities like Sunnyvale there are programs for that. We are filled with hubris and don't have such programs because council hates poor people.

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Posted by badhousing
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2013 at 11:33 pm

It is not a supply and demand problem.

We just need to build horrible apartments to live. Tiny, dirty and with thin walls. Then, only 'the poor' will be willing to put up with it and rents will go down.

Allowing prometheus to build luxury apartments does nothing to lower area rents..if anything it causes them to go up.

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Posted by roland
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm

After 40 yrs , im being forced out......

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Posted by Sean
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I'm not gonna read all the comment but I do have one, IMO this is a dear in the forest kinda thing. If the tear down part of a forest for housing - a dear will have less what will the dear do? Leave to look for more food. Sounds dumb but it really makes a lot of sense.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm

The supply and demand could also be applied to employment, products and office space. Why I say this?

Do any of you read the news. Not just the Voice, the sport pages or the movie section but the news about computers, tech, Google, real estate and trends?

From what I have read. Google is still popular but Yahoo topped Google, Google is smart, they invest in new idea and products. Growth for Google is good, they are hiring people. People are coming here to work and not just for Google. Large office projects are planning due to the high number of people buying into our valley's products and services.

We are attracting talent that seek out urban style living units, also they are getting more money. The amount of high paying jobs are growing, so the rents, home prices and every other service has been rising.

Owning a car is not important, owning a smaller car is good, riding a bike is the best. Shopping local, supporting local business is good.

People aren't having as many kids, the make up of a family is different, ok it can be weird. 2 parents and a dog.

Jobs are being created on the products and services are sold to the public. If people stopped using Google. Google will go away, the jobs will go away. The rents will drop. That won't happen because another company will replace Google.

Build smart, don't over building, don't under build and accept change but not out of control change

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Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 1, 2013 at 7:19 am

Sean, it's D E E R not dear, did you graduate high school?

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Posted by Sean
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 1, 2013 at 9:10 am

Also mr advice, Ithis uses auto correct and changed it for me if you have to know or no ....grammar queen

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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