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Rent-control measure expected to go to voters in November

Original post made on Jun 15, 2016

A signature-gathering effort to place a measure on the November ballot that would restrict increases in Mountain View's apartment rents appears to have succeeded.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 12:33 PM

Comments (47)

Posted by Hugh Janus
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Any short-term benefits from rent control are ALWAYS overshadowed by the longterm problems it creates. Look at SF and other cities. The free market has flaws but is way better than having some ignorant local government involved in these issues.

Bottom line is that progressive liberal socialism is a terrible sickness.

Posted by awfully mad
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Its too late for me. My landlord raised my rent 18.5% two months ago because he knew this ordinance was coming. I can't afford it and have to move. Can't trust any landlord in this city

Posted by Madeline Bernard
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

I think the only solution to crazy rent is to increase housing stock, through tall buildings and by allowing homeowners to subdivide their houses and add in-law units. Rent control doesn't help the poor, because as soon as they miss a payment or lose a job, they're gone and will never be able to live in Mountain View again. No poor person would be able to move to Mountain View. It's obvious that rent control hasn't done good in San Francisco.

Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:25 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

There are some other options to what we would deem to be "Rent Control." They might include additional taxes on rents charged above a certain "per square foot" charge. The City might publish names of land / apartment owners who charge what they feel are excessive rents. Other ideas . . . ?

However, this is (theoretically) a Free Market society. This means that people are FREE to charge what the MARKET will bear / bare. Although I am a renter and hope a rent increase doesn't force me out of the area, in a free market rent control is not appropriate.

Hopefully the myriad of new apartment buildings that are going up will affect the supply / demand curve and rents will drop and remain affordable.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:32 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

I am starting to agree with previous posters that the Voice is entirely one-sided in its representation of this issue. This editorial (because that is what it is, it is NOT an unbiased news piece) is highly biased towards rent-control. Terms used throughout the article like "landlords recklessly" and "toothless mediation", and "David and Goliath" all framed to make Us vs Them, Big vs Little, Poor vs Rich. When in fact this is simply a matter of taking away rights from property owners and GIVING to those who can't afford but WANT.

"Groups pushed the City": When is it the City's responsibility to set rent prices?

"Create a system of rent control"....why not say it like it really is? It will dictate what a private owner is allowed to charge for their private property.

I only hope like hell those "goliath" landlord companies do indeed come to the aid of those smaller ones who are stuck with this. You can be damn sure I'll be promoting amongst my non-landlord community that this is a big NO.

Posted by Voting No
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Its lousy in the long term and rents will spike up hugely prior to it starting if it does pass. Not a solution at all, especially long term

Posted by me
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

Real rents have dropped, but ads have not. Job creation is slowing or going down. Negotiate with your landlord.

Posted by Longview
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Longview is a registered user.

We can all agree that rent stabilization is not perfect. I hope we can also agree for the short and medium run, it will give peace of mind to tens of thousands of families. That is worth a lot. People I have talked to who support the Mountain View Rent Amendment also support building thousands of apartment units to bring supply and demand closer.

And as to San Francisco, who is to say that their rent control is a failure. Yes, landlords try to avoid it, but so many households benefit! Even when a new renter moves in paying some horribly high new rent, at least they know that their rent can only go up a small amount the next year.

Stable housing costs are good for communities. Rent stabilization laws deliver stability, and landlords are still making money. If they aren't they can appeal to the rent commission for higher rents. This system will work.

Posted by landlord
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Anybody know the details of this proposal? When will it start if voted yes? Also, what exactly does the 2-5% mean? Every year, a new number will be decided - let's say 3.4% and I as a landlord can raise my rents anywhere between 0% to 3.4%?

Posted by Oh Well....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Rent control proposals are admirable, but they will ultimately cause more problems for everyone if adopted. I don't favor bringing every contentious issue to the voters via referendum. Voters typically vote with their hearts, not their brains. If we continue and favor the abdication of political responsibility, I'm not sure we need elected officials. We elect politicians to make the hard choices. Our politicians should stand up and be accounted for on important issues.

Harmful exemptions can lead to discrimination against certain classes of landlords. The city could make a valiant first step by rolling back water, sewer connection, and garbage fees that have increased so dramatically over the years. The fees paid by all residents of Mountain View (read hidden taxes) continue to escalate sky high every year. Apparently, everyone needs more money except landlords. Landlords are only responding to market conditions. I remember when a beer was $2 per pitcher. We might need beer control measures next. Same for gas prices. And why does my phone cost $700.00? My health insurance is $900 per month. I'm guessing this is why we need rent control measures now because we can't control anything else. The issue is clearly not a few landlords owning old buildings along Middlefield or California Ave. Doesn't make sense we should pick on a few landlords in the big picture.

Posted by Skeptic
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Do all signatures get validated? I have a hard time believing that nearly half of all registered voters in Mountain View signed this?

Posted by Landlords' City Council;
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 15, 2016 at 3:22 pm

If the market were "free," house building would be underway in vast areas. Look around. But various governments regulate the availability of land for all things including housing and so make or break people left and right. Nothing "free" about it.

The proposal only extends to apartments open for occupancy before 1995. It does not extend to duplexes or single family homes or mobile homes. As required by state law, there is "vacancy decontrol" (i.e., the initial rent charged of an incoming tenant is not restricted).

Even as to present tenants, landlords could propose higher increases depending on factors. Rent could only be lowered in rare cases involving gamesmanship by a landlord. The City Council has done NOTHING for tenants. This proposal would save some tenants from having to leave the city. But those who prefer newcomers from around the globe may vote for continued mass turnover. It will be up to voters in November.

Some landlords will kick and scream and pretend they do not understand the proposal. They will refer to rent control in New York or LA or some other place voters cannot check out. But actually, there is similar rent control in San Jose and Los Gatos. And if the measures passes, the City Council is free to place its repeal on any future ballot. In fact, the City Council could propose its own charter amendment to accompany the initiative onto the November ballot.

Posted by I Signed Every Time I Went To Safeway
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

More than 10, less than 20 times... Always used fake names/addresses.

Hopefully they'll get caught during verification.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Landlords's City Council
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:26 pm

As to the guy who claims to have signed the petition more than 10 and less than 20 times using fake names, if true, you have committed 11-19 crimes. But I don't believe you. Signatures are verified through a process you can find in the California Elections Code when you learn how to read or hire someone to help you.

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:38 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

@longview actually no, we don't all agree. In fact, other than the extremely vocal minority, most people agree that rent control is NOT in the best interest of this City.

Posted by Big Macs For All
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Can we get the group of people who put up the money for the signature gathers who got paid $4 per signature, to start another initiative that says free Big Macs for all? People have to eat and it is a right, just like housing?

But in all seriousness, Steve is right, the Voice completely removed @notrustinthevoice post today.

Way to go Voice!

You use censorship to further your agenda, that was the final nail in the coffin that removes all doubt that you are being fair in covering this story for the people who live in Mountain View.

Posted by Target
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm

BT Properties raised rents 100.00. Days after the city inspected the property. Timing is everything.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:01 pm


You asked a question in the thread,
"Tenants group to submit signatures for rent-cap measure"

You asked why buildings built after 1995 are not covered under rent control.

The answer is, during the late 1970's rent control started in cities like San Francisco and around the state.
In 1994 the state of California had to pass a law that would exempt all new buildings because developers stopped building apartments, no one wanted to own them with rent control on them.

Council member Siegel had first tried to get rent control here in 1982, the voters said no.

I would like to ask you your opinion on free speech, at this site, regarding this rent control issue,but it would surely get deleted.

Posted by Mountain view resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Free big macs... Because we all need to eat... Wow, really thought that one through... Guess painting our community as irrationals and free loaders makes them feel justified for their sarcastic comments and belittling of the people who work so hard to create a sustainable city.

As for that person who signed "more than 10 times, less than 20...". Your actions are reminiscent of the fiercest opponents to rent control. Lies, cheating, money for lobbying, threats, intimidation, etc, etc... But our community isn't so naive nor gullible... and the entire Bay Area is rising up against rent gauging!

Posted by The Voice is at it again
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by Fix Everything
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm

After this rental law gets passed, can we look into stabilizing real estate appreciation in Mountain View as well?

For instance, I bought a single family home in Mountain View in 2015 for $1,100,000. The price was, is, and always will be insane to me.

The previous owner paid $34,000 for the house in 1975.

That's an increase of 32x over 40 years -- thirty two times!

They put in double-pane windows and a few other improvements, but 32x seemed like crazy unfair when I was submitting an offer!

Capping real estate at, say, a 5% annually would have limited them to selling their $34k property for about $175k -- that would've been much more affordable than $1.1M!

If the property was only $175k, then my property taxes would only be ~$1k instead of the ~$10k+ I have to pay every year going forward.

Let's fix everything!

Posted by mvresident2003
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2016 at 9:09 pm

mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Totally LOL on the likes. Whoever's up to that, nice job. L.O.L.

Posted by ReadTheActualAmendment
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2016 at 9:16 pm

I'd like the Voice to tell readers what the amendment actually says. People signed being told it was a rent control or rent stabilization measure. It's not.

The actual amendment creates an appointed board, who can make city laws and enforce them. This board is not made up of representatives elected by residents. None of the positions will be chosen by the people.

All other city boards are advisory, in that they recommend to the city council, but elected officials are ultimately responsible and held accountable for their decisions.

This amendment is not about rent control or stabilization. It's about creating a new governing body with no checks or balances or even accountability. And the people who signed on with a misleading promise are going to be hurt the most.

Read the text. It's not a cut and dry stop gap. And it's publicly available.

Posted by senior lady
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 9:17 pm

Where is the compassion in this discussion? This is not just an abstract economic discussion. Why are renters being trashed as not worth protecting? I'm a senior lady who used to work in high tech; obviously, I no longer have that kind of income.
I've been an excellent, responsible tenant for over 30 years. My landlord raised my rent 13%, and 10% the last time. Just because "the market can bear it" doesn't mean it's ethical or moral to gouge people with outrageous increases. Some sort of rent control will help MANY people who are long term residents in old buildings. Maybe the people who are so against rent control have never had to pay over 60% of their income to rent & can't relate. Of course we need more housing & more affordable housing. Meanwhile, this would help service workers, civil servants, teachers, low income families working 2 or 3 jobs to make the rent, seniors and the disabled on limited income. By the way, there is no place to move to if you can't afford the rent; it means leaving this area. For me that means all my doctors, social & professional connections, so I'd like to stay, but I'm struggling. Hoping some of you who are against this will have more empathy or compassion for us.
How do you "like" a comment on this site? I want to add mine to "longview".

Posted by Should we report it?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by Should we report it?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 9:43 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names, per Terms of Use: "You agree not to post comments under multiple names. Postings within a single topic from the same IP address made under different names will be deleted."]

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2016 at 10:50 pm

The city has had many opportunities to deal with the rent problem responsibly, through zoning. Every time, they chose to keep residential growth low and allow a large expansion in office space.

If the city won't deal with this responsibly, then one of these irresponsible measures will pass. I'll probably even vote for it.

Posted by Obvious Bias
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 12:28 am

The MV Voice - in their eagerness to bias this subject - pits "renters" against "landlords" by using phrases in their articles such as: "Landlord advocates have criticized the measure".

No - it is not only "Landlord against Tenant". It is more "property owner against loss of value" and "tenant against deteriorated property". I am finally a homeowner in Mountain View and I should not be attacked for wanting to preserve the value of my property for which I worked so hard. I've seen what rent control does to neighborhoods, and it's not a pleasant sight.

Rent control advocates often sublet their apartments (without safety checks by the owner) and thus actually make money at the expense of the owner. Some rent-control tenants rent their apartments out to AirBnB, and you end up never knowing who your neighbors will be the next week. Mountain View neighborhoods could easily be shot through with unstable and unsafe areas because of the transient occupants. It is ugly and can be very dangerous for neighborhoods.

Please be aware that not only homeowners are at risk. Renters will see their areas deteriorate as well. Don't you want to know that your neighbors - renters and property owners both - have a stake in wanting a stable place to live with a consistency of neighbors whose long term occupancy would encourage security and pride in your area? Would you and your family really feel safe should you have constant AirBnB or sublet next door?

Please think before you vote for this. The long term effects damage all of our properties, and degrade Mountain View to the sketchy town it was 20 years ago.

Posted by Landlords' City Council
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 5:20 am

The last poster claims that a tenant in any apartment where rent increases are limited will somehow "sublet" the apartment. The truth is that there is no right under California law to sublet without the permission of the landlord and the proposed law (city charter amendment) does not give any tenant any right to sublet at all.

Posted by Oh Well
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 7:12 am

Re: Recently the city approved companion units on sub-standard lots and voters will soon vote their preference for rent control measures. I would ask the Voice (just one time please to follow up) and the city council to survey the first 100 companion/granny units approved and built under the new city authorization to solve the "housing crisis". Just a guess, but the tiny companion units will not be made available to the under-served. They will be available at market rent (on a lease or short term Airbnb). No business license fees will be paid and no taxes paid on income received.
I would not wish to be the neighbor next door to the homeowner who installed a tiny home on wheels renting it for $2800.00 per month laughing all the way to the bank.

Posted by george drysdale
a resident of another community
on Jun 16, 2016 at 7:49 am

It involves long term memory loss. In order to graduate from high school you must pass a class in economics. Rent control is the premier study in economics. All economists all social studies teachers are against price (rent controls) unless we go to war. Thousands of times rent controls have been enacted and then ultimately thrown out. It has been suggested that journalists be required to take a college level (101) course to refresh their memories.

George Drysdale, a social studies teacher

Posted by @George
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2016 at 9:02 am

Ok, so if we can find just ONE economist that is supportive of price controls outside of wartime, then you should be willing to renounce your teachers certificate, go back to school and re-learn what you obviously have failed to grasp.

Unless you are unethical??? (Perish the thought?)

Posted by BD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 10:27 am

I have never seen comments on this board receive more than a few dozen likes until this article. Suddenly there are 300+ people reading and liking comments? This seems suspicious.

Rent control simply means higher rents up front to compensate for the lower appreciation later.

If I am forbidden from raising rent more than inflation, but I expect the unit will need repairs in 5 years, I'm going to have to price those in to the rent for years 1-4 just in case the tenants don't move out. So my imaginary tenants will pay more to live in run-down buildings, and every time a unit becomes available, the rent will be set higher than it otherwise would to offset a measly 2-5% increase each year.

Posted by @Landlord's City Council
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Oh, so "The truth is that there is no right under California law to sublet without the permission of the landlord and the proposed law (city charter amendment) does not give any tenant any right to sublet at all."?

Well, then OF COURSE that won't happen! When pigs fly.

Are you really that naive, or are you hoping to falsely convince people this won't happen? It WILL happen, and it DOES happen in every rent-controlled city. (Do you also believe that nobody will run a red light "because red means stop"?)

Posted by Rodge
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 16, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Why stop at rent control lets control food prices, repair prices, restaurant prices, etc. I am sure this will end well.

Posted by LikeBotTest
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 16, 2016 at 6:13 pm

The Trump-like scroogetastic Mountain View landlord elite are getting rich by bleeding the heart and souls of hard working teachers, firemen, and American children.

It isn't fair and the time for change is now.

The landlords should have to pay us rent to live in their slums!

Posted by Fed up
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 16, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Rent control works perfectly well in San Francisco - where I lived for almost two decades. No rent control in Mountain View does not work for those of us who don't have large incomes.

Voting against rent control means the voter believes that capitalists have rights and need protection and the that the poor can get screwed. If you own a rental property - you're already ahead.

Not everyone has a life that leads to riches, some of us are simply doing the best we can.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Everyone should read the 6/17/16 Voice edition. Front page has a story titled,

"Construction boom brings revene, and problems, for city's projects"

It is a story about how several projects that went out to bid for work in the city, and bids came back far higher than the inflated budget that the city had forecast..

One particular project was to replace broken sidewalks, only 2 qualified bids came back and they both where 50% above the city's budgeted amount.

As a result, the city council postponed these projects.

This is a very important point for everyone to understand. This rent control initiative will only allow a CPI increase, which is 2% today. There is no way that any property owner or landlord can pay to have work done to their property when the inflationary index for labor and material is far-far higher than CPI. You will have no improvements done and repairs will not be done properly to keep costs down. You will have empty units that will have walls washed and not painted, carpets will not be replaced but dyed, over and over, appliances will not be replaced but repaired over and over, and on and on it will go. This will be the new world for the old rental stock in Mountain View. You have your proof here with this article. These same issues that the city council faces with contractors is the same that a property owner faces with their contractors.

You can go to East Palo Alto, Oakland, San Leandro, Berkley, Hayward, East San Jose, Mission district and other areas of San Francisco-which is the number one city in all of United States for all property crimes, and see for your self the condition of the rental housing stock and the problems that these blighted areas cause for the rest of the city.

Rent controlled city's also make it virtually impossible to evict any bad tenant you have in the building. As a result you will only get these same type of people to live in those buildings as the landlord will have no motivation to go thru the trouble of filing a petition with the rent board to ask permission to evict them. They routinely say no in all the other rent controlled city's. It will be no different here.

If you are a renter, if you had constant complaints about another tenant in your building, and we had rent control here, what do you think your landlord would do if he could not get him to cooperate? I will tell you, NOTHING. Your choice will be to live with it or move. If you have a responsible landlord with no rent control, the outcome would be different as many would evict him. He would be served a 3 day notice or a 30 day notice to leave. If you doubt that will happen here, ask your self how these other city's, like East Palo Alto got to be so bad.

Rent control affects everyone in the city, not just renters.

There is a reason why these outside groups targeted only the 3 other city's on this side of the bay. The other city's have more homeowners than renters, and in the past when this issue came before the voters those city's with more homeowners always voted it down. Mountain View has already voted this down back in 1982 when council member Lenny Siegel brought this before the voters, hopefully that will happen again.

Mountain View today is such a vibrant city where people want to come and live in. Had rent control passed in 1982, the city today would more resemble East Palo Alto.

People need to demand proof what these proponents are saying, most if not all is false.

Demand to see documents that says people where evicted just to raise rents.
Demand people to provide the property address where people say they are having 150% rent increase every 2 years.
Make them prove what they are alleging, no more scare tactics, just provide the proof. We can follow up with the property owner and verify this. Do not believe anything the Voice says on this issue.

We have ten's of thousands of renters in this city, I would like to see them produce a list of 1000 people with all these claims as to what is going on with these evil landlords.

The proponents of rent control are asking for a change to the city, they need to produce the evidence to warrant such a change.

Just so everyone knows the truth, the market rent in 2001 for a 1 bedroom was $1500, in 2003 that same unit was $850. Market rent for that same unit from 2001 is $2100 today. That is a 35% increase. Proponents like to use the recession level lows of the rent to make misleading claims as to how much rents have really increased.

Posted by mistermonk
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 16, 2016 at 11:27 pm

I've seen rent control in Berkeley first hand. The landlords who can't raise the rent to a market price put absolutely no money into maintenance and the place became a dump. Parts of the city look totally blighted. Tenants abuse it and stay forever. Paying $400 a month for an apt that should rent for $1800 a month makes no sense. Even the tenant knows they are unfairly taking advantage of the system. Let the market decide what the rents should be.

Posted by Landlords' City Council
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jun 17, 2016 at 7:18 am

The last poster claims he or she is somehow familiar with rent control in Berkeley and that affected landlords there "put absolutely no money into maintenance." Not one address is given as an example. I challege the last poster to give one address in Berkeley or Los Gatos or San Jose where rent control has made the place worse. A landlord never has to cut into his, her or its profit by doing maintenance except as required by law. State law requires working basics. Cities can require more. The proposed law in Mountain View would allow a reductipn in rent if a landlord fails to meet basic standards or reduces services. The proposed law should actually improve the condition of Mountain View's older alartment stock. Some apartments here are indeed run down just because landlords have other ideas about spending their windfall orofits.

Posted by The voters will decide
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

Then people can stop whining about the council.

Posted by Who are you
a resident of Bailey Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 11:13 am

@landlords city
Why should anyone have to prove to YOUR curiosity, landlord my make living in there units even more difficult.
You have a tone of arrogance.

Posted by Don't be fooled
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

When landlords eek out every last dollar from their tenants, where do you think that money comes from? It comes from the renters earnings. That renter will be spending less on taxable goods within MV. That hurts us--roads, parks, services... And how much tax do the landlords pay the city? Nothing.

It's worse than that. High priced rentals also increase costs within MV, which translates to higher priced goods and services that WE ALL have to pay.

The only people that benefit from unrestricted rental rates are landlords, many of which are not even local residents!

Posted by Oh boy
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm

"The only people that benefit from unrestricted rental rates are landlords."

God forbid that a landlord benefit from his investment!

Posted by The voters will decide
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2016 at 2:08 pm

I think the general consensus is that rent control measures will greatly spike the current rent prior to go-live and the few cities that have tried it wished they haven't.
Get out and vote your side.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Bailey Park

on Sep 25, 2017 at 9:13 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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