News

City drops rent control from relief package

Opponents call voluntary program "naive"

Mountain View's City Council has shot down a version of rent control that was the centerpiece policy of a package aimed at slowing the rapid growth of housing costs. On Tuesday night, after hours of public testimony, the City Council decided that whatever short-term relief tenants would gain from rent control would be outweighed by the potential hardship it would inflict on the local housing market.

The decision on Tuesday, March 15, brought to a close a discussion that has dominated city business for the last six months and packed the City Council chambers like no other issue. In that time, scores of renters and landlords have made the case that their respective livelihoods were at stake.

Parents working low-wage jobs described how they would need to pull their children out of local schools to move hours away because they were being priced out of their apartments. On the other side, local seniors explained how they invested their entire nest egg in an apartment project thinking it would provide them with a stable income.

By all accounts, it was a situation with no easy answers, and the council admitted as much in front of the overflow crowd on Tuesday.

"No other issue has caused me to lose more sleep -- this is one vexing topic," said Councilman Ken Rosenberg. "I fear the fabric of our community of Mountain View is being ripped apart in front of our eyes ... yet rent control remains a bad policy."

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Formal rent restrictions were just one piece of a much larger and complex program of rental policies being considered Tuesday night.

In December, the last time the topic was taken up, a majority of the council signaled support for designing a three-stage process to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. This program would start with a step called conciliation, an informal phone conversation brokered by the nonprofit housing group Project Sentinel to discuss tenants' complaints and see whether a resolution was possible.

If that step failed, tenants could bring the dispute to stage two, mediation, which would bring in a trained mediator to encourage a compromise.

The rub of the meeting was the possibility of a third step, formal arbitration managed by a third-party who could dictate a binding resolution to the conflict.

In a dispute over a rent increase, for example, an arbitrator could rule on whether a tenant's rent increase fit the city's criteria. Landlords could make their case for why a big rent increase was justified, but in the end the arbitrator was authorized to throw out rent hikes deemed excessive.

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This system would have had plenty of differences from rent control in the formal sense, which normally means that a city sets a hard cap on the size of rent increases. But for many in attendance on Tuesday, the proposed binding arbitration was tantamount to rent control.

"Call it binding arbitration; call it rent control; call it rent stabilization -- it's picking an arbitrary number without basis and deciding that's the amount that rents can increase in a year," said Jessica Epstein, government affairs director with the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. "You don't need to go to this extreme policy so early in the process."

A large contingent of landlords at the meeting repeatedly emphasized to the council that restricting rents would give owners less reason to maintain their properties. As in other meetings, public speakers warned of slums, sewage leaks and renters who would abuse the system.

"This process would be confusing and cumbersome for small property owners, and ultimately it would discourage maintenance beyond the bare minimum," said Roger Strom, president of Strom Properties.

But there were plenty of exceptions to the restrictions the city proposed to impose. City staff members noted in their report that any arbitration process had to take into account that property owners deserved a "reasonable rate of return" and that the cost of property maintenance could generally be passed onto the tenants.

For that matter, many apartment complexes would be unaffected. Under the state Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, California cities can restrict rents only on apartment buildings occupied before 1995.

Tenants' advocates repeatedly reminded the council that voluntary measures would do little to curb rents that have been rising wildly out of proportion to many people's incomes. They urged the city to go further by including protections so tenants won't have to fear eviction if they raise complaints.

"We've taken one step forward only to find ourselves two steps back from where we started," said Evan Ortiz, an organizer with the Mountain View Tenants' Coalition. "Anything less than full protections will actually leave renters more vulnerable than ever."

As the discussion came to the council after a lengthy public comment period, it soon became clear that many council members had misgivings about the rental package as proposed by staff. To varying degrees, a majority of members came out swiftly against the idea of binding arbitration, saying they had fundamental disagreements with anything resembling rent control.

"You don't go from the free market environment to price controls in one fell swoop," said Councilman Chris Clark. "The art of policy-making is disappointing everyone in the room at a rate they can accept."

Clark and councilmen Mike Kasperzak, John McAlister and Ken Rosenberg each explained that they favor a mandatory mediation process that would encourage, but not compel, resolution for disputes over large rent increases, maintenance issues and other matters. The real remedy for the skyrocketing rents was to add more housing to the region, they argued. They were joined in opposition by Councilman John Inks who said he was also against any mandatory process for landlords, saying it was still a form of rent control.

In the minority were Mayor Pat Showalter and Councilman Lenny Siegel, who described the local rental crisis as a "cancer in the community" that needs a short-term fix. If the city leaves its rental policies entirely voluntary, very few landlords would have any real reason to limit their rent increases, Siegel said.

He blasted the majority's preferred plan as "naive," saying few tenants would risk angering their landlords for a futile mediation hearing.

"Landlords will go to mediation and say, 'Thank you, but I don't need to do anything.' There's no incentive for mediation to work," he said. "I'm going to oppose anything short of binding arbitration. It's pretending we're doing something that's not going to work."

With binding arbitration out of the picture, the council faced a second contentious question of what the rent-increase threshold should be for mandatory mediation. More than one council member said that setting a number would be an arbitrary decision. After taking a total of seven votes, the council finally zeroed in on an agreement to set the threshold at a 7.2 percent rent increase. At Clark's request, the council indicated that the 7.2 percent could be spread out over two increases over a given 12-month period.

To staff the new beefed-up mediation program, the city allocated $70,000 to help finance extra staff time at City Hall and Project Sentinel. Landlords would be required to register for the new program and pay $7 per housing unit annually to defray the city's costs. All apartment complexes with three or more units, including those built after 1995, would be affected by the new program and its fees.

The council agreed to review the progress for the new rental housing program within six months and again in one year. They added a "sunset" clause that would require the program to be reconsidered in September 2019.

Closing the discussion, Showalter said the city may be hearing more about these issues much sooner. She wondered if tenant advocates would prepare a voter measure seeking rent stabilization since the City Council seemed unwilling to take stronger action.

"This is better than nothing, but I don't think it's going to be nearly seen as good enough," Showalter said. "That does sadden me. We had an opportunity to go a little further here."

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City drops rent control from relief package

Opponents call voluntary program "naive"

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 16, 2016, 1:59 pm

Mountain View's City Council has shot down a version of rent control that was the centerpiece policy of a package aimed at slowing the rapid growth of housing costs. On Tuesday night, after hours of public testimony, the City Council decided that whatever short-term relief tenants would gain from rent control would be outweighed by the potential hardship it would inflict on the local housing market.

The decision on Tuesday, March 15, brought to a close a discussion that has dominated city business for the last six months and packed the City Council chambers like no other issue. In that time, scores of renters and landlords have made the case that their respective livelihoods were at stake.

Parents working low-wage jobs described how they would need to pull their children out of local schools to move hours away because they were being priced out of their apartments. On the other side, local seniors explained how they invested their entire nest egg in an apartment project thinking it would provide them with a stable income.

By all accounts, it was a situation with no easy answers, and the council admitted as much in front of the overflow crowd on Tuesday.

"No other issue has caused me to lose more sleep -- this is one vexing topic," said Councilman Ken Rosenberg. "I fear the fabric of our community of Mountain View is being ripped apart in front of our eyes ... yet rent control remains a bad policy."

Formal rent restrictions were just one piece of a much larger and complex program of rental policies being considered Tuesday night.

In December, the last time the topic was taken up, a majority of the council signaled support for designing a three-stage process to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. This program would start with a step called conciliation, an informal phone conversation brokered by the nonprofit housing group Project Sentinel to discuss tenants' complaints and see whether a resolution was possible.

If that step failed, tenants could bring the dispute to stage two, mediation, which would bring in a trained mediator to encourage a compromise.

The rub of the meeting was the possibility of a third step, formal arbitration managed by a third-party who could dictate a binding resolution to the conflict.

In a dispute over a rent increase, for example, an arbitrator could rule on whether a tenant's rent increase fit the city's criteria. Landlords could make their case for why a big rent increase was justified, but in the end the arbitrator was authorized to throw out rent hikes deemed excessive.

This system would have had plenty of differences from rent control in the formal sense, which normally means that a city sets a hard cap on the size of rent increases. But for many in attendance on Tuesday, the proposed binding arbitration was tantamount to rent control.

"Call it binding arbitration; call it rent control; call it rent stabilization -- it's picking an arbitrary number without basis and deciding that's the amount that rents can increase in a year," said Jessica Epstein, government affairs director with the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. "You don't need to go to this extreme policy so early in the process."

A large contingent of landlords at the meeting repeatedly emphasized to the council that restricting rents would give owners less reason to maintain their properties. As in other meetings, public speakers warned of slums, sewage leaks and renters who would abuse the system.

"This process would be confusing and cumbersome for small property owners, and ultimately it would discourage maintenance beyond the bare minimum," said Roger Strom, president of Strom Properties.

But there were plenty of exceptions to the restrictions the city proposed to impose. City staff members noted in their report that any arbitration process had to take into account that property owners deserved a "reasonable rate of return" and that the cost of property maintenance could generally be passed onto the tenants.

For that matter, many apartment complexes would be unaffected. Under the state Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, California cities can restrict rents only on apartment buildings occupied before 1995.

Tenants' advocates repeatedly reminded the council that voluntary measures would do little to curb rents that have been rising wildly out of proportion to many people's incomes. They urged the city to go further by including protections so tenants won't have to fear eviction if they raise complaints.

"We've taken one step forward only to find ourselves two steps back from where we started," said Evan Ortiz, an organizer with the Mountain View Tenants' Coalition. "Anything less than full protections will actually leave renters more vulnerable than ever."

As the discussion came to the council after a lengthy public comment period, it soon became clear that many council members had misgivings about the rental package as proposed by staff. To varying degrees, a majority of members came out swiftly against the idea of binding arbitration, saying they had fundamental disagreements with anything resembling rent control.

"You don't go from the free market environment to price controls in one fell swoop," said Councilman Chris Clark. "The art of policy-making is disappointing everyone in the room at a rate they can accept."

Clark and councilmen Mike Kasperzak, John McAlister and Ken Rosenberg each explained that they favor a mandatory mediation process that would encourage, but not compel, resolution for disputes over large rent increases, maintenance issues and other matters. The real remedy for the skyrocketing rents was to add more housing to the region, they argued. They were joined in opposition by Councilman John Inks who said he was also against any mandatory process for landlords, saying it was still a form of rent control.

In the minority were Mayor Pat Showalter and Councilman Lenny Siegel, who described the local rental crisis as a "cancer in the community" that needs a short-term fix. If the city leaves its rental policies entirely voluntary, very few landlords would have any real reason to limit their rent increases, Siegel said.

He blasted the majority's preferred plan as "naive," saying few tenants would risk angering their landlords for a futile mediation hearing.

"Landlords will go to mediation and say, 'Thank you, but I don't need to do anything.' There's no incentive for mediation to work," he said. "I'm going to oppose anything short of binding arbitration. It's pretending we're doing something that's not going to work."

With binding arbitration out of the picture, the council faced a second contentious question of what the rent-increase threshold should be for mandatory mediation. More than one council member said that setting a number would be an arbitrary decision. After taking a total of seven votes, the council finally zeroed in on an agreement to set the threshold at a 7.2 percent rent increase. At Clark's request, the council indicated that the 7.2 percent could be spread out over two increases over a given 12-month period.

To staff the new beefed-up mediation program, the city allocated $70,000 to help finance extra staff time at City Hall and Project Sentinel. Landlords would be required to register for the new program and pay $7 per housing unit annually to defray the city's costs. All apartment complexes with three or more units, including those built after 1995, would be affected by the new program and its fees.

The council agreed to review the progress for the new rental housing program within six months and again in one year. They added a "sunset" clause that would require the program to be reconsidered in September 2019.

Closing the discussion, Showalter said the city may be hearing more about these issues much sooner. She wondered if tenant advocates would prepare a voter measure seeking rent stabilization since the City Council seemed unwilling to take stronger action.

"This is better than nothing, but I don't think it's going to be nearly seen as good enough," Showalter said. "That does sadden me. We had an opportunity to go a little further here."

Comments

Gary
Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm
28 people like this

Months ago, I wrote a guest column in the Voice suggesting that mandatory mediation could help slow rent increases PROVIDED that the law protected renters from eviction motivated by a landlord's desire to avoid the process and charge any rent (the market permits) of brand new renters. After the mediation ordinance was presented last Friday by City Attorney Jannie Quinn, I pointed out that it contained no such protection. I proposed in writing the addition of a few words to the ordinance that would have protected tenants from preemptive eviction - at least legally. Neither Ms. Quinn nor any member of the City Council said a word about it. I also warned at last night's City Council meeting that without the change in language, the proposed ordinance was a FRAUD and a DISASTER in the making. And so it is. Landlords who want to raise the rent more than 7.2% in a year without being bothered by a tenant's request for mediation can simply issue an eviction notice instead of a rent increase notice. Nice work!


AEH
Monta Loma
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm
AEH, Monta Loma
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:37 pm
36 people like this

On Monday the Voice ran an article on increasing student homelessness in Mountain View schools.

Web Link

On Tuesday the City Council fails to work on the problem of rising rents in Mountain View.

Coincidence? I think not.


MEMBER
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm
MEMBER, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm
34 people like this

My Landlord before this ordinance has said that my rent will increase 1st by 18.5% and then another 12.5%. 31% in 6 months. I live in an apartment that has not been updated and yet my landlord wants mew to pay market rate.


No rent control.
Bailey Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm
No rent control., Bailey Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:51 pm
82 people like this

Finally, a majority of council came to their senses and decided not to interfere with the sacred relationship between a landlord and tenant . Who knows better the personal situation about the individuals and the property than the landlord and the tenant. To violate the free and voluntary exchange of services, which benefits both landlord and tenant is immoral. Price controls always lead to a misallocation of resources and limit supply which eventually leads to higher prices for everyone. Unless you understand how rents are determined in the marketplace and their purpose in terms of allocating a limited supply of housing, it's best that bureaucrats not mess with market transactions.


Neighbor
Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm
Neighbor, Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm
27 people like this

As a taxpayer, I don't want my money going to useless programs like the voluntary mediation program Council passed last night. I'd be glad to pay for real rent stabilization but this program won't do a thing except waste staff time and my tax money.


Former resident
another community
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:01 pm
Former resident, another community
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:01 pm
29 people like this

As a former Mountain View home owner, I suggest a time-limited moratorium on rent increases. Many friends with children in our schools are in a mutiple rent increase nightmare. They can't keep pace with the market and have few options for stability.

What type of community is Mountain View to become - just rich tech kids? Full of NIMBYs with no compassion? No ability for teachers, fire fighters, police officers and service workers to live in the area they work?

The housing or tech bubble will burst, again, and who will be there to rent?


Fed Up
Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:09 pm
Fed Up, Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:09 pm
35 people like this

Continually raising rents just because "the market will bear it" is a far cry from making a comfortable steady income from a rental property. My rent is raised 10% per year but my salary is not.

Everyone needs a home - not just the rich. Those of us who have lived here long before the tech CEOs were born, should have some protections.

The Mountain View city council is destroying the diversity and quirkiness of the city. Vote the bums out!


Kal Sandhu
Castro City
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:12 pm
Kal Sandhu, Castro City
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:12 pm
27 people like this

We elect members to the Council to think for the public, and with public input make decisions that are sorely needed. We are a wonderful city that cannot seem to make decisions on the inaffordability of rents here and the increase in homelessness of working folks. I cannot understand that no one can figure out that the City in conjunction with the billion dollar companies here either can't make the decisions or don't want to make the decisions. We cannot end up being a city of elites, there are enough of those around, as that is not what made Mountain View great in the first place.
The City Council members need to swallow 'gut' pills and make the decision on keeping rents affordable. There are wonderful landlords who will work with any decisons that are made. I do like Council Member Clark's recommendation of 7.2% annual increase. I wish banks paid that much interest to encourage savings:) The segment of our commmunity that will be affected the most are the children. They don't need to endure the stress that parents face in regards to housing.
So members of the Distinguished City Council of Mountain View, please do soemthing and not postpone it any longer. The buyrden lies with you.


Ken Rosenberg
Blossom Valley
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm
Ken Rosenberg, Blossom Valley
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:13 pm
7 people like this

@Gary,
I had discussed the issue you raised (including showing her your suggestion) with the City Attorney Quinn. It is her belief that the current language is broad enough to satisfy retaliation attempts. This is why I didn't bring it up during the meeting. You are being heard, not ignored.

@Neighbor,
The cost to the City (and indeed, tax payers) should be next to zero. The program is being paid for on a cost-recovery basis. Apartment owners will be assessed $7/unit. The Council will adjust this number after a period of time if it is too little or too much.


Sam
Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:32 pm
Sam, Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:32 pm
23 people like this

Its to bad the City of Mountain View sold its soul to Google and other tech companies. Many rental property owner on craigslist cater to Google,Apple only. I blame the city of MV


Zap
Shoreline West
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Zap, Shoreline West
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm
18 people like this

... that ought to work! Yep - a VOLUNTARY MEDIATION PROGRAM will certainly keep landlords from imposing unfair and unjust rent increases ... Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!! ... and IF you believe THAT, I own a mountaintop ski lodge in southern Florida that I want to sell you ... can't we just rename Mountain View "Googleville" and make it MANDATORY to impose 25% rent increases every year until ONLY Google employees can afford to live here???


Zap
Shoreline West
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:45 pm
Zap, Shoreline West
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:45 pm
14 people like this

Want to make rent increases REALLY fair and just??? Simple = ensure that rent increases do not exceed the previous years' national rate of inflation.


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:48 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 5:48 pm
9 people like this

Thanks to Councilmember Rosenberg for raising with City Attorney Jannie Quinn the plain insufficiency of the RETALIATION language in the ordinance (section 43,30) and reporting above that the City Attorney claimed (falsely) that her language was broad enough. Unfortunately, anyone who reads Emglish (including most landlords) will understand instantly that prohibiting retaliation for the exercise of rights under an ordinance (such as the right to mediation if hit with a large rent increase) does not stop a landlord from simply serving an eviction notice on a tenant BEFORE giving any notice of a rent increase. At that point, the tenant would not have exercised any rights under the ordinance. Even if a councilmember were so trusting as to believe Ms. Quinn's defense of her own (mostly borrowed) work-product, how would it have hurt to have added the words I suggested? I suggested the landlord be barred from taking adverse action against a tenant because of the tenant's exercise, "OR PROSPECTziVE EXERCISE, OF ANY Of THE RIGHTS" under the ordinance. The City Council could still add that vital language on "second reading" of the ordinance set for next week. Without the added language, landlords can and will evict tenants if they wish to avoid the bother of rent increase mediation. If the City Attorney had been confused previously, she could not still be confused, and legal advice that bad, in this context. may well qualify as "official misconduct" as the term is used in California Government Code section 3060.


steve
Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm
steve, Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm
75 people like this

Well done City Council in protecting PRIVATE property rights.

Renter and landlords are bound buy the lease that exists between them. Once the term of the lease is up, there is no further obligation on either side. The tenant is free to go and find another rental property, and the landlord is free to raise the rent 1000% if they should so desire.

There is no and should not be a right to remain in someone's private property, nor is there a right to live in Mountain View, or any city for that matter. Fundamentally, the government has absolutely no place in such a transaction.

Great win for free markets and a resounding defeat for the the leftists in this town - who would do much better moving to Sweden


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:02 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:02 pm
11 people like this

I take it that "Steve" above would be against any government action affecting the value (or maybe just lowering the value) of real estate? Is that right Steve? Or have you given no thought to the role of government is creating and affecting the value of real estate - including the profitability of rentals? In any event, I do not personally take offense to the City Council's rejection of binding arbitration - just its failure to protect tenants from eviction in response to its mediation procedure.


@Gary
Waverly Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm
@Gary, Waverly Park
on Mar 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm
14 people like this

You have to understand, Gary -- "people" like "Steve" (and I use the term "people" rather loosely) are all for the free enterprise system...so long as it doesn't affect them directly.

Of course, if they suddenly had to pay $500 for their latte, or pay $30,000 to have an oil change for their Mercedes, they wouldn't be so thrilled about the free enterprise system...


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Mar 16, 2016 at 8:35 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Mar 16, 2016 at 8:35 pm
20 people like this

Exploitation should never be something that people boast as a positive or even an acceptable feature of a strong free market society.

To defend private investment property rights as higher than the well being of people is something I hope most people don’t accept.

In fact, what makes America a great capitalist country is the understanding that some public regulations are essential in nearly all American industries, real estate is no different. Regulations of course should be clear and thoughtful so participants know the cost of doing business in entering that field.

A healthy free market is supposed to be an even playing field, yet the rental market is no where near even in power. Power differences are the very reason for most public regulations. The most basic fairness is both parties having the same level of information. This is the foundation to our stock market’s regulatory system. Yet landlords have all the information, and renters enter agreements blind of past track records of their landlord. It’s regrettable the city council rejected monitoring the percent of increases of rentals in the city, given that we don’t even know if price gouging is the exception or the norm.

Worth noting that price gouging daily goods in emergencies is illegal in most states, yet throughout history, charging vulnerable people exorbitant rent for housing still remains even today.


Good Tenent
Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm
Good Tenent, Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm
14 people like this

Resently a vacancy came up in the smal complex we live in, in Mountain View. It's been difficult finding a larger place as 20 to 30 family's line up to view most places.
When the vacancy came up we inquired were told we had to pay the 70 dollars for a credit check in witch we did. Not a problem our credit report is in order. As good tenants not once have we been late on our rent were denied.
Only two see two young Google employees move in . We don't want to leave MV as our boys finish 2 more years of school before going away to school. As a family of 4 cramped in a one bedroom has been difficult for all. So yes greed and Google hurt many of us long time MV families.


Greg Coladonato
Registered user
Slater
on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:49 pm
Greg Coladonato, Slater
Registered user
on Mar 16, 2016 at 9:49 pm
13 people like this

@ Christopher Chiang

There are quite a few resources now available for tenants to find out more about potential landlords before signing a lease, so they don't need to be blind to past track records at the larger complexes, like these for example:

Americana Apartments review at Yelp: Web Link
Central Park review at Yelp: Web Link
Many more: Web Link


Mt. View Neighbor
North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm
Mt. View Neighbor, North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm
88 people like this

Unfortunately, rent controls often serve to prevent homes from coming onto the market by providing incentives for people to stay in a unit longer than they would. In rent controlled Santa Monica, I actually know of cases where people have moved to other states for several years and still kept their rent controlled apartment, leaving it empty.

Landlords want to keep their properties rented, and want to avoid the costs of unit turnover. Keep in mind that if a unit goes unrented for even one month, the landlord does not make up that lost rent for as much as a year, even if the rents gave increased. This should drive smart landlords to appreciate their tenants enough to keep rents for good tenants a little below market value in an effort to retain renters.

We already have restrictions in rent increases and requiring 60 days notice for rent increases over 10%.

In the end, landlords have no motivation for rental turnover if the property is properly kept up, and rent controls can actually result in fewer available homes.

Maybe Mountain View should consider tapering off businesses, rather than continuing growth that can't be supported.


m2grs
another community
on Mar 16, 2016 at 10:38 pm
m2grs, another community
on Mar 16, 2016 at 10:38 pm
38 people like this

Rent control is not a solution to the problem. It makes the problem worse.

Cupertino is entertaining the idea of charging Apple $1000 per employee to pay for affordable housing. I think this can be a good idea for Mt. View to charge Google and Microsoft such taxes. The money can be used to subsidize low-income rent or constructions. If consequentially Google opts to move some of the employees out of Mt. View there will be less demand for housing. Rents will come down.


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 12:00 am
Angel S., Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 12:00 am
14 people like this

As part of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, I'm very happy with the outcome. The ordinance that was observed (before it passed) had no teeth, and worse than that, became the tool by which many landlords have begun retaliating against tenants who spoke up. I'll share a few examples in a minute, but first, thank's to council member Lenny Siegel for he has fought for this since before I was born (or around that time... I'm 34), and he is still fighting. He really deserves our deepest respect and gratitude. Mayor Pat Showalter, I remember at the beginning of our campaign she was divided and unsure... Yesterday she spoke strongly and with the voice of reason. Her voice has merged with that of the community. For that we should thank her and congratulate her... she's chosen the right side.

Now as Mayor Showalter said, the council's opportunity to fix this emergency is gone. It is clear that tenants had never been in so much danger of eviction as of last night. The arguments about landlords wanting renters to stay to avoid rental turn over forget the fact that landlords are humans too... they have feelings... and they are feeling angry. They are retaliating. We are losing and will lose more families... Here are the examples I wrote about earlier:

Many have come forward to our group to share their stories, not the hardships of coming up with enough money for the rent, nor how devastating it would be to their families, instead...
Some tenants are being penalized now if they want to continue on their month to month agreements (they are offered a yearly lease with a high rent increase, or the option to go month by month with even higher rent increases throughout the year).
Others are getting 60 day eviction notices without a reason.
Others shared how their managers have humiliated them and laughed in their face by saying "see what happens when you get the landlords angry?", or "that's what you get for messing with them" right after handing them their rent increase or eviction notices.

While retaliation is illegal, it is really hard to prove, and so far none of the tenants have wanted to pursue the matter further. It is intimidating. It is inconvenient. It is expensive.

Now, this is a disaster. As I expressed before, tenants had never been in so much danger. So why am I happy about the council's decision? Because now, after the issue has been made public and many become more aware and informed about the problem and the solution, it is clear to the majority in our community that we need tenant protections and rent stabilization to keep our community alive.
The lies that some landlords and others in the opposition try to pass for facts are falling apart.
No, rent control is not like bombing a city.
No, rent control doesn't bring pythons, pit bulls nor pedophiles.
No just cause evictions doesn't make it impossible to kick out drug dealers... call the police (that's my recommendation in case of pedophiles too).
No, rent control won't crash the market. It never has.
Yes, landlords are guaranteed a profit. Rent control and rent stabilization include clauses to cover any extra costs or repairs.
No, it's not forever. We can include a sunset clause to revisit in however long we choose to do so...

It is a shame that after our community did our homework on the economy, law and the market... we still couldn't get what we asked for.
I guess now it's to us! What do we do? Help us decide! Come to our weekly meetings at the Rengstorff Park community center (basement), every Wednesday at 6pm.

If you care about this issue, let us hear your voice! It is imperative that we all come together soon for we have never been so vulnerable. Should we try talking to council members again? Do a ballot initiative? Go to Sacramento?

Let us know what you think... We want a good Mountain View for all of us.


Property Rights First
Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 8:32 am
Property Rights First, Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2016 at 8:32 am
63 people like this

Property Rights are fundamental to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Price Controls of any type on any product is SOCIALISM, which is incarceration under the ruse of social justice.

People who cite rent increases fail to tell you what their rent was and what it is now, and what they have or have not done to their rental unit.

Stick With FACTS and justice will prevail.


Landlord in MV for 50 years
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 10:26 am
Landlord in MV for 50 years, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 10:26 am
69 people like this

Funny how these over-reaching governmental efforts only serve one side of the equation. Having lived through numerous downturns in the local economy over the past 50 years (and the present day dotcom bubble's precursor to another), I look forward to the Mountain View City Council implementing protective ordinances for landlords limiting how much they can reduce rents when it becomes a renter's market.

I, for one, shall impose a $7 surcharge on my 100+ tenants (post Right-to-Lease ultimatum) for the continued bad policy meddling these elected officials can't seem to avoid.


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:03 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:03 am
7 people like this

The City Council will have the opportunity to expand the RETALIATION clause in the ordinance adopted on March 8 when the ordinance roeturns for "second reading" on March 22 or other date selected. The ordinance passed will only protect tenants once it takes effect and only then from retaliation for the tenant's impossible exercise of all the "rights" pursuant to the ordinance. The City Council could have considered and adopted an urgency ordinance but, after the teeth (binding arbitration) had been knocked out of the draft ordinance, Ciy Attorney Jannie Quinn told the Council no urgency ordinance was needed. As I had pointed out in writing for months, any ordinance extending rights to a tenant needed to broadly protect (at least legally) the tenant - not just after the tenant has exercised some or all of the "rights" under the ordinance. I proposed in writing the addition of a few simple words to both the mediation ordinance and the urgency ordinance to forbid adverse action by a landlord if the landlord were motivated by the prospect the a tenant would (in the future) exercise ANY of the rights pursuant to the new mediation ordinance. We now know the City Attorney Jannie Quinn not only presented a mediation ordinance (and urgency ordinance) that would not legally protect tenants at all but then mis-advised at least one councilmember (who says in a post above he asked before the meeting) that the language she had presented was broad enough. Anyone who reads and understands English could see otherwise. As currently written, City Attorney Jannie Quinn's mediation ordinance inspires and permits eviction notices instead of rent increases notices and will also do so after it takes effect. It can still be changed, but the City Attorney will likely continue to mis-advise the City Council. The ordinance adopted is precisely the CRUEL HOAX about which I warned.


Joanie
Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm
Joanie, Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm
10 people like this

I don't think any money should be spent on voluntary meditation. That's why it's voluntary. They didn't want money. They would meditate for free!


Gerald Ford
Gemello
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:27 pm
Gerald Ford, Gemello
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:27 pm
8 people like this

I think the city should get rid of renters, and just allow homeowners. If you can't afford to buy a house, you don't really belong here. You're just a poseur.


Name hidden
Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm
Name hidden, Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:47 pm

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


Old Timer
Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:56 pm
Old Timer, Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2016 at 4:56 pm
9 people like this

We should have home price control, not rent control!

Why? If housing is cheap, then rent must be lowered relatively.
So let's do housing price control, why bother with rent control?
Is it because there are less rental unit owners and more housing owners?

Why should all cost of any rent arbitration be paid by the landlords?
Why not paid by all residents, businesses?





Gladys
Old Mountain View
on Mar 17, 2016 at 5:11 pm
Gladys, Old Mountain View
on Mar 17, 2016 at 5:11 pm
61 people like this

Thank you to the Mtn.View city council for imposing reasonable restrictions on landlords and not to take away rights from property owners.

To all posters here, understand that there is much hype about bad landlords in our city. With this new ordinance that passed, council will start to see data from what is actually going on. So stop with this hate that you are building up within our city.

I ask that all you people who believe that landlords are ripping you off, I ask that you get informed as to what you are talking about. Put together a spread sheet starting from 2000 thru 2015. This is one entire economic cycle here in our valley. Figure in rent amounts every year, figure vacancy's from 2000 thru 2010, I can tell you the average is 20% for every year during that time. Figure in all expenses, then figure in a conservative loan amount of 40% loan to value. Then tell me if you have made a net net profit or a net net loss for the past 15 years.

In 2000 the apartment building at 2235 California St. was purchased by new owners, in 2004 they lost the building because they could no longer pay their bills. They lost $8 million dollars in 4 years. Research the purchase price and the selling price, that is public information. They lost $7 million in value and $1 million in cash trying to pay the bills. Another owner had to file for bankruptcy protection in 2005. He owned the building for ten years and the bank went after everything he had trying to recoup the losses from the loan he had. This was happening all over the valley.
This is what happens in every recession, you hear about homeowners losing their homes, but you never hear these stories about landlords.

Apartment buildings have commercial loans which have higher interest payments and shorter loan terms than residential properties. You have to re-finance not longer than 10 years. What would you do when the bank underwriters tell you that you have to raise the rents on average of $300 or $400 dollars on everyone in the building? Would you not do it and lose your building because you can not get a new loan?

This idea that landlords are at fault with the high cost of housing here is just wrong. Everyone being here is the problem. Just remove the population that has moved here in the last 6 years and you will have lowered the real estate prices across the board. So next time, blame yourself and your neighbor as well, if you want to be fair.

The majority in this state passed Prop. 8 which banned same sex marriage to gays. This was wrong, and taking away rights from a small group of property owners who provide a valuable service to our community is also wrong.

As a landlord since 1999, I have a net net loss during that time frame. I am not even close to getting my life's saving back. If you did your spread sheet, you will see the same. One poster here says that landlords are guaranteed a profit, really? Please tell me where and to who I can send my bill in to get reimbursed for my losses.

We should focus on trying to help the low income by creating new ideas on how to achieve this. I say lets pass a .25% increase in the county sales tax and use that as a housing voucher to hep subsidize the rent for the low income. Everyone should pay their fair share.

What is your new idea to help solve this issue?


Sally
Blossom Valley
on Mar 17, 2016 at 6:27 pm
Sally, Blossom Valley
on Mar 17, 2016 at 6:27 pm
124 people like this

@Angel S.

Angel, you have way to much anger in you my freind.

People come here from all walks of live for a chance to build a better life.
There are no garantes in life, except death and taxes, but you still have your freedoms and you still can make your own personal choices.

If rent control is an major factor in where you live, why did you not move to a rent controlled city like San Jose or East Palo Alto? What you say, you do not what to live in a rat hole and get shot at? Did rent control have anything to do with the neighborhood being that way? If you say that they are beautiful places with high quality of life, then go move there. If that makes you happy, it's only 5 minutes and 20 minutes resourcefully away from Mountain View.

If all you want is a cheap place to live, I understand south of the border has really cheap rent, but it seems most are fleeing that part of the country.

We have the most generous country anywhere. The low income qualify for $50,000 of annual benefits for low income people. Including food stamps, child tax credits, earned income tax credits, and even Section 8 housing assistance. If you are not familiar with them, do some research and then pass that along to others who need help.




Me
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm
Me, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm
3 people like this

I re-read the article but it was not clear what had been voted on and passed vs what had been discussed in December and then debated.

To the author/editor, please post an update with the specifics of what passed. In one or two contiguous concise sentences without tangents? thanks.


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm
Angel S., Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm
4 people like this

@Sally

I wasn't angry, but your comments do push a few of my buttons... They're ignorant, but that's not the real problem, you are trying to be mean.

If and when you want to really help our community (I see you're not from Mountain View), please try to be nice and authentic. If you're not willing to take time off of your day to come to our community, talk to people, learn about both sides of the issue, and get informed... then at least try to be respectful to those of us who are. We live here and are trying to shape our community for our families. As residents of this city, we have both the power and the responsibility.
If you believe being out priced of the town where you've made your life is okay, good for you. We don't. And we will continue to push for tenant protections and fair rents. Fair for the landlords, fair for the tenants.




Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:15 pm
Angel S., Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:15 pm
5 people like this

@Sally

I realized there's a Blossom Valley in Mountain View! I only knew of the one in San Jose.
If you are a resident of Mountain View, you're more than welcome to come to our meetings and express your opinions. There have been a few people that have changed their position to ours after meeting with us.

We can provide you with more information on why rent control can work in our city and how it can be implemented to equally benefit landlords and tenants. Just please bring an open mind and your best attitude. We'll reciprocate.

P.S.
There's no more anger. I let go of it quickly to clear my head and act reasonably. Hope you join us!


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:23 pm
Angel S. , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 17, 2016 at 11:23 pm
3 people like this

@Me

This are the things I remember

7.5% will be the rent increase trigger for mediation
There's no binding arbitration
There will be a $7 charge per unit for all landlords to help the city fund Project Sentinel (70,000) for mediation
Council will revisit in 6 months

if anyone else has more information, please feel free to add


mvresident2008
North Bayshore
on Mar 18, 2016 at 7:19 am
mvresident2008, North Bayshore
on Mar 18, 2016 at 7:19 am
15 people like this

I felt like I needed some education on what rent control actually does so I went and read this piece at the Library of Economics and Liberty: Web Link
Also we have the empirical evidence from San Jose and San Francisco, where rent control seems to act to reduce the availability of rental units rather more than the cost of rents.
So I don't think rent control would server to lower rents in Mountain View, just harm the folk who have invested in Mountain View and committed themselves to it over a number of years.
It a bit of a gut wrench to see folk who have become established in MV having to move out. I want to ask them 'Why didn't you buy your own house instead of paying all that rent?' I would imagine that the answers might be couldn't get a loan, poor credit, not enough money for a deposit, etc.
Since rising property prices are inevitable when the housing stock can not keep up with demand, how about this idea:

If you have been a Mountain View resident for ten or more years and you have continually rented a property during that time, you have no doubt contributed to the wealth, prosperity, and culture of Mountain View during that time, and we want to keep you as our neighbor, not push you away.
After ten years you should become eligible for a low cost loan and a low or zero deposit mortgage, funded by the City and the people and businesses of Mountain View.

Additionally, MV building codes could be examined to see if there is a possibility of introducing smaller/cheaper residences that could be built at a lower initial cost.

We can all be part of a solution here - local businesses and residents could contribute to a fund - personally I'd rather be earning a little less interest knowing I was helping out my neighbors than keeping a bank warm and dry, and the Mountain View City Council can contribute by clearing a path for the set up of such a fund.


Gladys
Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm
Gladys, Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm
56 people like this

@Angel S.

Since your are declaring to be the leader of your group, I ask you the following questions, Please reply here, we need the entire community to hear this.
You said,

"It is a shame that after our community did our homework on the economy, law and the market... we still couldn't get what we asked for."

1-Provide a profit and loss statement for the years 2001 thru 2015 for a typical rental property in Mountain View. If you saw the losses that landlords incurred, you would not be thinking that they are all getting rich.

2-You say landlords are guaranteed a profit. Please provide who will pay those bills when rents do not cover expenses.

3-You support a rent cap for rising rents, do you also support that same rent cap for falling rents? meaning rents can not drop more than CPI.

4- Do you support tenants who move out of an apartment, that they will still be required to pay rent till a new tenant is found and starts paying rent?

5- Do you acknowledge that there was a case in San Francisco where a landlord had a drug dealer living in his building, rent board would not allow landlord to evict him, then other tenants sued landlord? It was in all the papers when it happened. The police can not evict tenants, you should know that.

6- What would you do when you have to refinance your loan, and the banks underwriters says you have to raise the rents $400 on everyone to qualify?
Would you do it? if you won't, you will loss your building.

7-I new the people who where the owners at 2235 California St. They lost $8 million dollars in 4 years, from 2000 thru 2004. Will you pay them back for the money they lost? if not, who will? The other person I new who lost his building in 2005, the bank went after everything he owned to cover the losses on the loan. Will you pay him back?

They where all good people with family's. What you are doing is not making a factual argument, the facts are not on your side, but you are making an emotional argument that some people are hurting. The same argument can be said for the other side as well.

It is wrong for anyone to say we need to take away rights from one group, to give to another group. All city councils need to approach all issues in that frame of mind.

This is a community wide issue that needs to be addressed by everyone. I support an increase in the county sales tax, and to use those funds to subsidize the low income.

I will work with anyone to help address this issue so long as it is fair and everyone shares the cost for any new program. I suggest we start to look for ways we can all agree on, and not to divide people.

We can solve this if we all work together.


@Gladys
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm
@Gladys, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2016 at 1:22 pm
4 people like this

@Gladys, your argument isn't very coherent or logical. If you'd like these questions seriously answered and considered, would you mind clarifying what your actual argument is?

You state in your comment that "What you are doing is not making a factual argument, the facts are not on your side, but you are making an emotional argument that some people are hurting. The same argument can be said for the other side as well"

I believe much the same can be said about your argument as well.

I'd also encourage you to share some of the information that you may have. For example, related to question #6, do you have information about how often the typical home has to refinance and the amount being refinances.
Or Question #1--can you provide any data outlining the typical loss that landlords may incur?


Gladys
Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm
Gladys, Old Mountain View
on Mar 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm
45 people like this

@[email protected],

My questions is to Angel S. the leader of this group who claims "our community did our homework on the economy, law and the market." My question should be very simple for someone who has done their homework on the subject.

I understand how Fake Gladys could have problems understanding questions to an issue he knows nothing about. But let me help you out a little.

Apartment buildings are commercial properties which requires commercial loans. You can not get permanent financing like a residential home. Your choice is 3 or 5 or 7 or a 10 year loan, then you have to constantly refinance and be subject to what the bank underwriters tell you what you need to be able to refinance.

Just so you know, 4 months ago when this subject came up here, I posted a detailed expense statement for an apartment building, and I asked then, how can you say that apartment owners are ripping you off. I did not get one person reply to it. So now it is your turn to tell me what you think these numbers are.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:02 am
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:02 am
7 people like this

This issue warrants a more nuanced discussion than the extremes of total regulation or total none regulation. Landlords have many costs, and of course, have the legal and moral right to earn a profit on their investments, and likewise, they should equally have the freedom to ensure that people (tenants) they do business with are treating their property well.

None of that is causing the city's housing problem. The problem are the double-digit annual rent increases a few landlords/companies are charging their residents, some reported as high as 20-40% annual increases. These extreme rent increases do not correspond with the cost of covering down-years, loans, taxes, and maintenance. It is not fair to suggest that real estate as an industry should act as a non-profit or charity. Yet, it is morally acceptable, and hopefully, encouraged, to live in a society that expects everyone to act with humanity.

To view what common decency looks like, just look at how Book Buyers was treated by its landlord: Web Link And I know many of MV's landlords have done many equally caring acts, with no fanfare.

I am not in favor of rent control that lumps all landlords as transgressors, but I do hope we find solutions that shines a bright light on the few who practice gross exploitation.


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm
Angel S. , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm
3 people like this

@Gladys

First, one person says I'm angry, which was at best an assumption, at worst an attempt to discredit me or make me seem irrational. Second, now you say I claimed to be the leader of the group... which again, is at best an assumption or just another attempt at trying to discredit my words by adding a "public challenge" for me personally to provide information you request, to prove I've done my homework... If the "leader" can't answer, it'd speak volumes for the group huh?

Here's the thing, those are lies. I wasn't angry, nor have I claimed leadership of the group...ever.

Then another community member jumps in on the comments and you disrespected them and further exposed the intention in your comment was to challenge me, asking me to prove myself... You are not trying to help our community, and I wouldn't be surprised if you're a landlord yourself or realtor... not one of the good ones, one of the greedy ones.

Be honest with your intentions and we may have a good discussion where we become more informed and the outcome is a solution that works for all. Continue to lie and be rude to others and you'll be ignored.

Answers to all your questions and proof that some of your arguments are false and misleading are spread out throughout our Facebook page. Look it up, if you care to do so. There's also the means to contact us. Also, you'll find there is no "leader" in our group. We are all leaders in our community, full time employees (some more than three jobs), lawyers, economists, mothers, fathers and children... Real people. Come talk to us if you really are interested in our community. If your interests lay elsewhere, then start from there and stop being fake.

Truly, many bullies have taken to the comment sections...


Mike
Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm
Mike, Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm
47 people like this

@Gladys and @Angel S.

I have done some research as to both of your claims that you have made.

Gladys, I have found that your claims are true. Also, with regards to the property on California St. I did a MLS search and that apartment building was sold 3 times. In November of 2000 it sold for $17,000,000. they then sold it for $10,000,000. Then it was sold on more time in August 2009 for $5,156,000.
During that time frame, there is no way to confirm how much cash they put into the business to keep it going, but I believe it must have been considerable. During this time period you had 2 owners lose a combined $12,000,000. There is no way that these property owners can earn that kind of money back.

Angel S., Your statement that landlords are guaranteed a profit is false. No business is guaranteed to make a profit. With regards to be able to evict bad people, I looked at San Francisco case history, and it is virtually impossible to evict anyone. There are cases where property owners wanted to move in their son or family members and the rent board denied them their right to do so.

I was waiting for you reply to Gladys, she has very clear and concise questions that if you would have been able to answer here, maybe we all could have made progress here, and personally, I would never attend an event with you present.

But you seem to automatically have a habit to attack people who do not agree with or question you. You disrespect a person for no other reason than being a landlord, and you attack Sally for your believe that she does not live in Mountain View.

Angel, Do you have any other suggestions, besides rent control, to help the low income pay their rent?
And F.Y.I, if you say you have people who are being retaliated by landlords,tell them to pull out their smart phone and record it. You then have your prove.

From what I have learned, I do not understand why anyone would want to invest in a rental property. Every 10 years our valley goes thru recessions, they loss a ton of money during those times, then you have people who demand rent control. I can not support any such measures.


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Angel S. , Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm
3 people like this

I don't have much time to respond to you Mike, but you are right on one thing, I was wrong by saying Landlords are guaranteed a profit. What I meant to say is that they can all increase the rent every year a set percentage, regardless of how the economy is doing. What is that magic number? We don't know yet. It would have been great if the landlords we spoke to had been willing to compromise, but they were unwilling to work with us on finding the right number for them and for us. Now, we'll have to come up with a number that will help our community.

It's terrible that two landlords had a combined loss of $12,000,000. However, I also worry about the hundreds of families who are being displaced due to retaliation, discrimination, and gentrification. Children being pulled from schools in the middle of the year, workers having to commute longer distances to come to work (and adding to the traffic problem we face), local business owners losing employees and not being able to hire more people due to service workers moving out to cheaper areas, the fear and stress of people living off of their retirement funds and social security due to all the rent increases, etc, etc...

Mike, I'm not attacking Sally, I'm defending myself. And as for your comment: "you seem to automatically have a habit to attack people who do not agree with or question you. You disrespect a person for no other reason than being a landlord". Please quote me or show me where I did such a thing. (I'm also waiting to see where I claimed to be leader of the group, and where on my first comment can you tell I have "too much anger".

It's too bad you wouldn't go to any event where I'd be present. That means you won't be coming to any community meetings related to the issue, city hall meetings, public workshops, study sessions and such... Such a shame. If you ever change your mind, you'll find out that even in a group full of people that disagree with each other there can be civility, cooperation, and even on discussions, there's the opportunity for growth.
Let's just lay off on the defamation shall we?

And yes Mike, there are lots of ideas and suggestions in our group. Not just to "help the low income pay their rent", but also the median income earners, underserved, seniors, and people who've grown roots in the community... and yes, there are also ideas to help landlords provide affordable housing for those at risk of gentrification while getting a fair pay for their rent... We are not against landlords, we are against gentrification...

Since you said you researched both Glady's and my points, then you should have come across different forms of rent control/rent stabilization, where it's clear that some things work in one place, and some in others. The key here is not to copy what other cities have done (SF, SJ, etc) but to do a study of the region and the city, and craft an ordinance tailored specially for our city.

I won't be coming back to check on comments anymore. If there's anything you'd like to share, look up mountain view tenants coalition on Facebook and message us through there.


With gladys
Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm
With gladys, Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm
39 people like this

Angela, I have to agree with Mike. Gladys put forward a very non-emotional, factual post. You did not respond to her legitimate questions, rather you turned it into an emotional, finger-pointing, blaming post of many angles none of which, again, answered her factual, legitimate questions.

Perhaps if you came back and answered here in this forum publicly as Gladys suggested, we can all try to move forward with solutions and answers. But you lose credibility for your side when you cannot even respond to her request, yet only point fingers and blame her for something she didn't even do.


With Gladys
Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm
With Gladys, Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm
38 people like this

Angela, we were posting about the same time and you say you're not coming back which I assume is because you cannot counter Gladys' comments about landlords carrying losses, landlords barely pulling even during down times etc.

Again, you only want to present the "poor tenant, we can't afford to live here" side. You refurse to acknowledge the cost side. You probably support Bernie too.....everything for free for everyone!


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Angel S., Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm
4 people like this

I guess this is what I get for not closing this tab earlier...

@with Gladys

Since it's by popular request, I'll answer Glady's questions... for those nice, unbiased people who are really looking to understand the issue and find solutions that'll work for landlords, I mean, everyone.

Keep in mind, my answers represent what I think and what I've learned since I got involved on this issue. I'm NOT claiming leadership of the group, I am NOT speaking on their behalf. I AM REPRESENTING MYSELF when I comment.

Gladys' questions:

1-Provide a profit and loss statement for the years 2001 thru 2015 for a typical rental property in Mountain View. If you saw the losses that landlords incurred, you would not be thinking that they are all getting rich.

A- I never claimed, nor thought, that all landlords are getting rich. While I'm sure some made a lot of money on their investments, I don't doubt some lost it all, and maybe others barely broke even. However, landlords seemed to have more resources and lobbying power than tenants and families affected in our community. They didn't seem to need nor want our help, so our group has taken to the task of gathering the information needed in regards to law and the impact on the residents and tenants in our community, including education, service industry, diversity and such. No one else was doing it.
We've documented those and presented possible solutions based on our findings. That's what I meant by "we've done our homework". We met with a few landlords on December. They were unwilling to provide us with the information you requested from me (I asked them personally for this information)... maybe you can provide that information here and we could make it a productive thread?

2-You say landlords are guaranteed a profit. Please provide who will pay those bills when rents do not cover expenses.

A- I rephrased my comment when answering Mike, but here it is again. What I meant to say, is that there would always be a minimum percent of rent increase allowed annually, regardless of how the economy is doing. Attaching the floor and the ceiling on rent increases to some percentage of CPI, if done right, could work for both renters and landlords. Now, by state law landlords are entitled to a "reasonable return for their investments". What is and isn't reasonable is the question here. We've looked at CPI indexes from decades ago until today and we have a pretty good sense of which percentages could work.

3-You support a rent cap for rising rents, do you also support that same rent cap for falling rents? meaning rents can not drop more than CPI.

A- Not the same rent cap, but yes to an increase. Every year landlords could raise the rent according to the CPI and if it drops too low or goes too high, we can have a "safety" % that landlords could increase regardless of how the economy is doing. We want something that will allow landlords to make modest profits while protecting our community from evictions during tough economic cycles.

4- Do you support tenants who move out of an apartment, that they will still be required to pay rent till a new tenant is found and starts paying rent?

A- No. I feel there's no need to explain my answer. Common sense.

5- Do you acknowledge that there was a case in San Francisco where a landlord had a drug dealer living in his building, rent board would not allow landlord to evict him, then other tenants sued landlord? It was in all the papers when it happened. The police can not evict tenants, you should know that.

A- Yes, the landlord went about that eviction all wrong. On any contract or lease there's a clause that explains what you are and aren't allowed to do in the property. Illegal activity always terminates the contract. From that point on, it becomes tresspassing, or failure to vacate... in both cases, the police can intervene and

6- What would you do when you have to refinance your loan, and the banks underwriters says you have to raise the rents $400 on everyone to qualify?
Would you do it? if you won't, you will loss your building.

A- If the landlord is interested in keeping their building and the tenants want to keep their apartment, a partnership sounds tome like the best solution. Both tenants and landlords could make a case to city government , to subsidize those who are interested in helping the community achieve affordable housing goals. A fund could be set to help those landlords keep their building, while at the same time, diminishing the rent increase for those tenants. Win win.

7-I new the people who where the owners at 2235 California St. They lost $8 million dollars in 4 years, from 2000 thru 2004. Will you pay them back for the money they lost? if not, who will? The other person I new who lost his building in 2005, the bank went after everything he owned to cover the losses on the loan. Will you pay him back?

A- Are tenants getting a share from landlords profits? How does that even make sense?
No, we shouldn't "pay them back". It sounds a lot like the bank bailouts... What we need to do is to rethink the industry. It should be much more than just "owning buildings" and "making money". Let's make it a community oriented industry.
If we do a good job we could end the eviction of families, and the losses of those who invest in such a necessary product.


Well, I have a feeling those asking me to answer the questions won't be pleased by them. So maybe this was time wasted... but maybe not.

At the very least, this thread illustrates the perspectives of some against and in favor of rent control.
To me, it was refreshing to see some people really standing on both sides, making arguments for both parties. It has also strengthened my conviction to keep pushing for tenant protections and rent stabilization. Seems there are still a few who only see the landlord's perspective and completely disregard the realities of those living in our community.

And yes! I am for Bernie! Not because "everything will be free for all", but because "everything is free for a few"!... We need some balance!


Angel S.
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Angel S., Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 20, 2016 at 7:19 pm
3 people like this

I'm closing this tab before I see another comment!


mvresident2003
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm
mvresident2003, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:04 pm
29 people like this

"we want something that will allow landlords to make modest profits"

So landlords (or free market thinkers of any ilk), how does it feel to have people who feel entitled to your work, your investment, your risk.....how does it feel to have them dictate what you get back?

"Common sense" not to require tenant to cover rent until new tenant is found.
Typical. Why should a tenant take any risk or responsibility when there are landlords to do it?

Angel, you live in a world of naive entitlement. There are already plenty of laws protecting tenants from those "abusive landlords" you like to put forth. What you're asking for isn't about landlords gouging tenants. You're asking for subsidies to allow people who can't afford it to live in places they can't afford. There are PLENTY of less expensive areas less than 30 minute commute (via car or transit) from here. Move there, your life will be better, you won't have to stress about the rent that is an issue for you and perhaps you may even be able to save a bit and use it for future purchase/investment. Like a lot of landlords here have done.


Gladys
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm
Gladys, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Mar 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm
35 people like this

@ ANGEL s.
"I'll answer Glady's questions... for those nice, unbiased people who are really looking to understand the issue and find solutions that'll work for landlords, I mean, everyone."

You are not providing any solutions here for a landlord to start from, other than taking their property rights. Every statement you made is far beyond naive. It takes 2 sides who are honest and competent about a subject to begin a dialog. You only want full protections for renters, and you have absolutely no regards or considerations to the landlords side and how they can stay in business. You will be putting at risk thousands of landlords if you put CPI caps in place when the next recession hits.

Everyone should know that in 2000, that was the peak of the rent before the recession hit. Rents fell 45% within a few years. The real estate market in the valley has now recovered. The new people who moved here from 2003 thru 2012 should understand that was not the normal market rent for our area. It was an artificially low rent due to the recession, and an unsustainable rental income for landlords to pay the expenses, hence the reason so many landlords went out of business.

The dirty secret that these people will never mention is, they looked for a ways to justify the lowest rental increase that they would consider, and that is why they choose CPI, less than 2%.
Anyone who wants to use this method is being dishonest. Property taxes increases alone are more than CPI. My property insurance 10 years ago was $4,000, now its $10,000. The utility bill the city sends out is routinely 8 to 10% a year in increases. CPI does not cover cost increases.


"A- If the landlord is interested in keeping their building and the tenants want to keep their apartment, a partnership sounds tome like the best solution. Both tenants and landlords could make a case to city government , to subsidize those who are interested in helping the community achieve affordable housing goals. A fund could be set to help those landlords keep their building, while at the same time, diminishing the rent increase for those tenants. Win win."

I can not even begin to comment how naive of a statement is this. Where would the city get $50 BILLION dollars to replace current loans?


"A- Are tenants getting a share from landlords profits? How does that even make sense?
No, we shouldn't "pay them back". It sounds a lot like the bank bailouts... What we need to do is to rethink the industry. It should be much more than just "owning buildings" and "making money". Let's make it a community oriented industry.
If we do a good job we could end the eviction of families, and the losses of those who invest in such a necessary product."

This paragraph says so much. It shows that someone has absolutely no business experience, not even a basic understanding of 101 economics.

You want to cap their incomes, so yes you are taking money out of their pockets, and you feel no obligations at all for putting them out of business when they can no longer pay their pays. How selfish.

These buildings are run by small family's, Mom and Pop businesses who provide a valuable service to our community. If we stopped buying these buildings and they went away, where would you live?

We have deep roots in our community, we can not pick up our buildings and move them into a city where all people can respect everyone's right equally.

It is so outrages that we have people like you and council member Siegel who has such hatred for business, for decades. You come after us with a total disregard for what it takes to run a business thru good times and bad times.

I have faith in the community in that they understand what you are trying to do will be bad for the entire city, and that they would not enact your agenda and bankrupt thousands of business owners.

Why don"t you, and council member Siegel and Mayor Showalter, raise 25% down payment and go buy an apartment building, then set the rules on yourself and see how that works out for you.

Give us a status report thru the loan process, you will love Dodd-Frank!! Then if you get the loan, give us another report in 6 months.

I will bet that you will not be able to pay your bills in the second month and you will lose your building not long after that.

But go ahead, set the model for what you want in our community.

Remember what they say?

TALK IS CHEAP!!

SHOW US THE LIGHT SO WE ALL CAN BE ENLIGHTENED


mvresident2003
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Mar 22, 2016 at 10:05 am
mvresident2003, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Mar 22, 2016 at 10:05 am
22 people like this

hear hear Gladys, spoken like someone who truly understands their business and lives in reality, not some pretend utopia where everyone gets what they want. There are many of us who understand and support you, believe me.


Janon
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2016 at 12:24 am
Janon, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Mar 26, 2016 at 12:24 am
7 people like this

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment/personal attacks]


mvresident2003
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Mar 27, 2016 at 4:52 pm
mvresident2003, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Mar 27, 2016 at 4:52 pm
3 people like this

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment/personal attacks]


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