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Landlord group withdraws ballot measure aimed at weakening Mountain View's rent control law

Protesters chant during a February 11 rally against Measure D, which would have loosened the Mountain View's rent control protections but was soundly defeated in the March election. The landlord group backing a November measure which would effectively end the city's rent control program announced Friday it would be withdrawn from the ballot. Photo by Magali Gauthier

A landlord-backed initiative that would have significantly curtailed Mountain View's rent control law will not appear on the November ballot, after its proponents moved to withdraw the measure Friday.

Tenant advocacy groups hailed the decision to drop the measure they dubbed "the sneaky repeal" on Aug. 7, just three months before Election Day, calling it a victory over an existential threat to the city's renter protections. The backers faced deep criticism after multiple voters reported being misled by paid signature-gatherers into signing a petition to place the measure on the ballot.

"The (measure) was based on deception," said Steve Chandler, a member of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. "Congratulations to our Mountain View neighbors for rising up and supporting the truth."

The ballot initiative, dubbed the "Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative," was slated for the Nov. 3 general election ballot this year after it received enough signatures to qualify in 2018. The measure was put forth by former councilman John Inks and real estate agent Bryan Danforth, but was largely spearheaded by the California Apartment Association.

Most critically, the measure would have suspended nearly all of the tenant protections under the city's rent control program, known as the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), in the event that the vacancy rate of the city's rental housing units reaches or exceeds 3%. The vacancy rate has not dipped below 3% in at least two decades, leading some opponents to describe the initiative as a "sneaky repeal" of rent control.

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The measure would have limited rent control only to households making up to 100% of the area's median income, and would have capped the annual fees imposed on landlords to pay for operating CSFRA.

Joshua Howard, a spokesman for the California Apartment Association (CAA), said in a statement Monday that the initiative has some problems due to its age. Drafted in 2018, the measure now conflicts with new statewide legislation -- AB 1482 -- which caps rent hikes and imposes "just cause" protection against evictions.

Between that and changing priorities to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, Howard said the association is no longer working on the passage of the measure.

"CAA and its members remain opposed to local rent control ordinances and are committed to working with the community, housing providers and elected leaders on real solutions to the region's housing crisis -- the development and construction of new housing," Howard said.

Inks did not respond to a request for comment, but said in an email last month that he was unsure about the fate of the ballot measure and what parts of it would comply with AB 1482. He said he remains a staunch opponent to rent control.

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"I don't begrudge tenants and workers at all for pushing back on high rents and seeking minimum wage levels," Inks said. "However, I still do not support politically mandated wage ans price controls for economic reasons. Overall, best value for consumers is when the market of sellers and buyers set and pay prices based on choice, not mandates."

It's unclear how much support the measure would have received at the ballot box. During the March primary election, City Council-backed Measure D attempted to soften Mountain View's rent control protections but was handily defeated by more than two-thirds of voters. The measure's proponents described it as a compromise between the existing law and the landlord-backed measure, and said they'd cut a deal for CAA to abandon its own November measure if Measure D passed.

In the ballot argument filed against the now-withdrawn November measure, Councilwoman Alison Hicks wrote that corporate landlords were attempting to fool residents with deceptive and misleading statements. If the initiative were to prevail, Hicks said it would allow landlords to increase rent in excess of 7% per year, reined in only through nonbinding arbitration.

"The tenant could go through a dispute resolution process to determine the reasonableness of an increase that exceeds 7%, but the outcome of that process would be advisory only and would not bind the landlord," according to the ballot argument.

Hicks also worried that, because rent control only applies to families under the median income, landlords would have an incentive not to rent to lower-income families.

The November measure also faced opposition from the Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance, a coalition of residents across the city's six mobile home parks. Though mobile home tenants are currently exempt from CSFRA and the city's mobile home parks do not have rent control, the group has fought against efforts to scale back renter protections in the city.

Tim Larson, the alliance's president, said he is glad to hear that CSFRA is no longer under threat from the November measure, and that the hope is to soon extend rent control to the city's mobile home parks.

"Many of our members literally cannot wait to get the protections that are currently safeguarding other Mountain View residents," Larson said.

In statement Friday, former Councilman Lenny Siegel said the measure was a veiled attempt to repeal the city's 2016 rent control law, making it on the ballot through paid signature gathering in 2018 and $260,000 in campaign spending from large apartment companies in Mountain View. Despite the expensive push to get the measure passed, Siegel said apartment owners saw the writing on the wall when Measure D was handily defeated in March.

"Faced with certain defeat the apartment owners pulled the plug on the measure Friday," Siegel said. "I don't recall any other case in which the California Apartment Association has thrown in the towel on a ballot measure. This is something we can be proud of."

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Landlord group withdraws ballot measure aimed at weakening Mountain View's rent control law

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 1:45 pm

A landlord-backed initiative that would have significantly curtailed Mountain View's rent control law will not appear on the November ballot, after its proponents moved to withdraw the measure Friday.

Tenant advocacy groups hailed the decision to drop the measure they dubbed "the sneaky repeal" on Aug. 7, just three months before Election Day, calling it a victory over an existential threat to the city's renter protections. The backers faced deep criticism after multiple voters reported being misled by paid signature-gatherers into signing a petition to place the measure on the ballot.

"The (measure) was based on deception," said Steve Chandler, a member of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. "Congratulations to our Mountain View neighbors for rising up and supporting the truth."

The ballot initiative, dubbed the "Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative," was slated for the Nov. 3 general election ballot this year after it received enough signatures to qualify in 2018. The measure was put forth by former councilman John Inks and real estate agent Bryan Danforth, but was largely spearheaded by the California Apartment Association.

Most critically, the measure would have suspended nearly all of the tenant protections under the city's rent control program, known as the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), in the event that the vacancy rate of the city's rental housing units reaches or exceeds 3%. The vacancy rate has not dipped below 3% in at least two decades, leading some opponents to describe the initiative as a "sneaky repeal" of rent control.

The measure would have limited rent control only to households making up to 100% of the area's median income, and would have capped the annual fees imposed on landlords to pay for operating CSFRA.

Joshua Howard, a spokesman for the California Apartment Association (CAA), said in a statement Monday that the initiative has some problems due to its age. Drafted in 2018, the measure now conflicts with new statewide legislation -- AB 1482 -- which caps rent hikes and imposes "just cause" protection against evictions.

Between that and changing priorities to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, Howard said the association is no longer working on the passage of the measure.

"CAA and its members remain opposed to local rent control ordinances and are committed to working with the community, housing providers and elected leaders on real solutions to the region's housing crisis -- the development and construction of new housing," Howard said.

Inks did not respond to a request for comment, but said in an email last month that he was unsure about the fate of the ballot measure and what parts of it would comply with AB 1482. He said he remains a staunch opponent to rent control.

"I don't begrudge tenants and workers at all for pushing back on high rents and seeking minimum wage levels," Inks said. "However, I still do not support politically mandated wage ans price controls for economic reasons. Overall, best value for consumers is when the market of sellers and buyers set and pay prices based on choice, not mandates."

It's unclear how much support the measure would have received at the ballot box. During the March primary election, City Council-backed Measure D attempted to soften Mountain View's rent control protections but was handily defeated by more than two-thirds of voters. The measure's proponents described it as a compromise between the existing law and the landlord-backed measure, and said they'd cut a deal for CAA to abandon its own November measure if Measure D passed.

In the ballot argument filed against the now-withdrawn November measure, Councilwoman Alison Hicks wrote that corporate landlords were attempting to fool residents with deceptive and misleading statements. If the initiative were to prevail, Hicks said it would allow landlords to increase rent in excess of 7% per year, reined in only through nonbinding arbitration.

"The tenant could go through a dispute resolution process to determine the reasonableness of an increase that exceeds 7%, but the outcome of that process would be advisory only and would not bind the landlord," according to the ballot argument.

Hicks also worried that, because rent control only applies to families under the median income, landlords would have an incentive not to rent to lower-income families.

The November measure also faced opposition from the Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance, a coalition of residents across the city's six mobile home parks. Though mobile home tenants are currently exempt from CSFRA and the city's mobile home parks do not have rent control, the group has fought against efforts to scale back renter protections in the city.

Tim Larson, the alliance's president, said he is glad to hear that CSFRA is no longer under threat from the November measure, and that the hope is to soon extend rent control to the city's mobile home parks.

"Many of our members literally cannot wait to get the protections that are currently safeguarding other Mountain View residents," Larson said.

In statement Friday, former Councilman Lenny Siegel said the measure was a veiled attempt to repeal the city's 2016 rent control law, making it on the ballot through paid signature gathering in 2018 and $260,000 in campaign spending from large apartment companies in Mountain View. Despite the expensive push to get the measure passed, Siegel said apartment owners saw the writing on the wall when Measure D was handily defeated in March.

"Faced with certain defeat the apartment owners pulled the plug on the measure Friday," Siegel said. "I don't recall any other case in which the California Apartment Association has thrown in the towel on a ballot measure. This is something we can be proud of."

Comments

Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Aug 10, 2020 at 3:53 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2020 at 3:53 pm
200 people like this

Too bad. The country is full of examples where distorting pricing and the markets lead to less favorable outcomes for everyone. Mountain View will have to continually try to tug and tweak the controls but will ultimately not produce the desired outcome.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 10, 2020 at 5:09 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2020 at 5:09 pm
6 people like this

Dan,

There are many problems with your claim. The First is that you have Landlords isolating tenants and not providing public information regarding current units and rents being paid. Thus Landlords inflate their rental prices due to market opacity, the REAL market is contingent on market TRANSPARENCY, REntal prices are NOT trade secrets and should not be treated that way.

Second, tenants are put under scrutiny regarding background checks and credit checks. Maybe there should be a regulation requiring landlords and property owners to be prohibited if they have a felony history or a credit score below 700? What good for the goose is great for the gander.

Finally the CAA and those people have only themselves to blame for regulations because they promised adequate housing in 1994-95 regarding Costa Hawkins, and it was a lie. The CAA works as a means to prevent price competition because the landlords and property owners compare their prices in secret and then simply do not compete for customer given the critical shortage of housing units.

The MARKET field even with the measures we have is still grossly uneven with the majority power given to the landlords and property owners, and you know it.

It is likely to get worse if the revised Rental Affordability Act passes, but I can't make any prediction, there is no polling going on.

I am sorry this "sneaky" trick failed so badly for you.


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Aug 10, 2020 at 5:55 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Aug 10, 2020 at 5:55 pm
6 people like this

Steven, I wouldn't waste my time attempting a dialogue with Dan Waylonis. His general posting MO is to show up early on an article, post some glib libertarian rhetoric, and then move on to the next article.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Aug 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Aug 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm
4 people like this

I would wish that the Voice (City and Schools reporters) would make it clear on if a vote on Public Policy was "unanimous" or "split." The Council vote on supporting the defeated Measure D was definitely NOT unanimous. Hicks we see, besides voting AGAINST as her role as a representative council member, also Filed AGAINST as a ballot booklet argument (Calif Constitution FREE SPEECH right / even if a majority of her council voted for Measure D)!

Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matachak voted for Measure D and council candidate Jose Gutierrez signed the ballot booklet argument supporting Measure D.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 16, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 16, 2020 at 2:13 pm
Like this comment

I observe an interesting problem for the City of Mountain View.

The CSFRA entitles lawful rent to be based on Market Rate. Several landlord petitions asked for rent increases. I was in one of them, in 2018 the rent was adjusted to match market rate based on the condition of my building. So, my rent is currently market rate. EXCEPT now the market rates have dropped. Per the article found here (Web Link). It is reported that rents have gone down 15.9% from last year.

Here is where the City has a problem, my landlord has been upgrading separate units of my building and still on top of that he is discounting the prices of those upgraded units. I have the petition of the landlord submitted to the City that shows the previous rates. Given that the market rates of his units are required to be equally distributed, it appears that the “market rate” of my building has gone down.

Given that the CSFRA only allows for market rate rents, and my rent was adjusted before 2019, it would appear that all rents in this building should be entitled to a rent reduction based on the market rate. Given that the City has seen a 15.9% rent reduction the CSFRA does entitle all rent-controlled units to be provided a 15.9% rend reduction in the City.

The CSFRA standard for rent reduction is as follows:

“(c)Petition for Downward Adjustment — Decrease in Housing Services or Maintenance. A decrease in Housing Services or maintenance, or deterioration of the Rental Unit beyond ordinary wear and tear, without a corresponding reduction in Rent, is considered an increase in Rent. A Tenant may file a Petition to adjust the Rent downward based on a loss in rental value attributable to a decrease in Housing Services or maintenance or deterioration of the Rental Unit. The Petition must specify the circumstances allege to constitute a decrease in Housing Services or maintenance, and demonstrate that the Landlord was provided with reasonable notice and an opportunity to correct in like manner to Petitions filed pursuant to Subsection 1710(b)(2) herein.

Thus is any landlord has upgraded any unit and at the same time dropped any prices this would qualify as a decrease in housing services or maintenance. There is a significant discount of the current value of the existing units where there is a price discount provided for the refurbished or upgraded units above what is necessary to be considered necessary for inhabitation. That is defined under the CSFRA here:

“(3)Fair Rate of Return - Factors Excluded.

In making any upward adjustment to the Rent based upon a Landlord's Petition to ensure a fair rate of return, the Hearing Officer or Committee shall not consider the following factors as justifying an upward adjustment:

(A)Costs of debt servicing (including but not limited to principal, interest, and fees) for any debt obtained after October 19, 2015, other than debt incurred to finance the cost of improvements as described in Subsection 1710(a)(2)(C);

(B)Any penalties, fees, or interest assessed or awarded for violation of this or any other law with respect to the Rental Unit;

(C)The costs of capital improvements that are not necessary to bring the property into compliance or maintain compliance with applicable local codes affecting health and safety;

(D)Cost increases, capital improvements, banked Annual General Adjustments, or other circumstances that arose before the current tenancy began; and(E)Income taxes.”

So, any “improvements” made on a unit to market them at a higher price will by default reduce the current value of the existing not improved units. Especially if the rents collected can be proven to be lower than the previous rates. In my case I have the landlords own petition to prove it is reducing its prices on units at higher levels of amenities. In effect this is discrimination. Now if these units are rented by protected classes under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, even if it wasn’t intentional, it would still be discrimination. Thus, these landlords are creating a VERY dangerous situation for themselves.

The Bottom line is that the RHC should consider a regulation dictating for as long as the market rates are going down, the rent-controlled units that are currently in the previously defined market rates by a hearing officer, must be by default discounted the same rate of reduction being reported. In this case 15.8%

This should apply to all tenants in CSFRA units in Mountain View.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 21, 2020 at 11:36 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 11:36 am
2 people like this

So Steven and others who care: Yes, the two incumbent City Councilmembers seeking re-election in November proposed and supported Measure D on the March 3 ballot. School board member and City Council candidate Jose Gutierrez also supported D - putting his face on mailers paid by the landlords. Measure D was rejected 2-1. But that Measure D was mild compared to the SNEAKY REPEAL dropped from the November ballot by the landlords. I am more concerned that Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga, (this year's Mayor) for example, filmed a political advertisement in support of the 2018 petition drive to qualify the SNEAKY REPEAL for the ballot. But let's see what the incumbents do next on extending the city's RESIDENTIAL EVICTION MORATORIUM during the ongoing Covid crisis. And let's see if Jose Gutierrez has anything to say on the subject of the EVICTION MORATORIUM.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm
Like this comment

I want anyone who can to get signs made to tell voters to reject ANY Measure D endorsers and the "Sneaky" Repeal video posts that were on the Measure V Too Costly website. However, that website is no longer up anymore

I posted one at Calderon and El Camino Real. I wonder how long it will survive given the ugly state of politics today.

WE ALL HAVE TO GET TO WORK TO PREVENT THIS FURTHER ABUSE OF MOUNTAIN VIEW CITIZENS, ESPECIALLY WITH COVID.

These people must not be allowed to damage the city citizens, they already have by using their power to expunge citizens from the city.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 21, 2020 at 1:40 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 1:40 pm
4 people like this

Here is an update. Online now is the agenda for next Tuesday's City Council meeting. Right after item 7.1 concerning pensions that the press and public might never read is item 7.2 the eviction moratorium extension. Here is the trick - apart from the provision of additional money for some corporations: staff proposes that the moratorium will extend beyond September 30 only if the county moratorium is extended beyond that date. If the county moratorium is extended beyond September 30, the city moratorium will thereafter not expires until repealed. Otherwise, the city's moratorium will expire on September 30. Here is a better idea: extend the city moratorium for two months at a time. Remember that the city moratorium is NOT NEEDED as long as the county moratorium remains in effect. It will be needed the minute the county ordinance is no longer in effect. And the City Council should not count on the County Board of Supervisors to maintain its moratorium. Every non-incumbent candidate for City Council should express a position to the Council before the vote next Tuesday.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm
4 people like this

Here is the language from the proposed extension of the so-called Eviction Moratorium proposed by city staff for consider at the August 25 meeting with regard to its duration:

"Section 2. From the effective date of this urgency ordinance and continuing through September 30, 2020, or any later expiration date of County of Santa Clara Ordinance No. NS-9.287(sic). If the County of Santa Clara does not extend Ordinance No. NS-9287 beyond September 30, 2020, this ordinance shall remain in effect until the termination of the City's local emergency declared on March 12, 2020, unless extended by the City Council, a suspension of evictions for nonpayment of rent by residential tenants impacted by the COVUD-19 pandemic is imposed as follows:"

In all likelihood, before the City Council meets next Tuesday, August 25, the County Board of Supervisors will have already (earlier in the day) extended its Eviction Moratorium to September 30 or beyond. If, for example, the County Board of Supervisors were to extend its Moratorium on August 25 to and including October 15, 2020, one way to read the City's proposed extension is that the City's moratorium would expire on October 15 unless extended by action of the County Board of Supervisors.

While the City's Moratorium could be again extended by a later extension of the County Moratorium, the absence of a County extension would end the City's moratorium. As I indicated in my last post, City tenants only need a City moratorium if the County's ends.

And one last point: Because a state Judicial suspension of eviction cases has been in effect since April 6 but is set to expire at midnight on September 1, we don't know how many landlords will be serving 3-day eviction notices demanding September rent and then suing for eviction - even if tenants claim they qualify for a rent deferral.

The City should not fund non-profits to hand out rent to a few dozen landlords on behalf of a few dozen tenants. Instead, the City should hire a lawyer to advise tenants (and represent them if wrongfully sued for eviction).


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Like this comment

Gary,

The reason why the City uses CSA is because they can pick and choose who they "deem" qualified for assistance.

In effect this "agency" is able to be used to not only provide free cash to landlords so they are "insulated" from the COVID disaster, but it could be used to "socially engineer" the people the City Council wants to keep and which ones they want to get rid of.

No one is independently monitoring the CSA decision process in this situation. You cannon prove to us that they are providing equal services to all Mountain View residents.. Which should be proven in order to maintain the equal enforcement requirements under the state and federal constitution.

This is just another way to expunge "non-desireables" from the City.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2020 at 6:45 pm
4 people like this

The City does not have enough money to pay the rent for many tenants. Paying the rent for a few (dozen) tenants is a waste of money and unfair to others. What the City can do is impose a little on landlords - as it has - by creating the opportunity for paying rent later - or at least not being evicted for non-payment when tenants truly cannot afford to pay (at all) because of the pandemic. So what I have just suggested (above) is that the City hire a lawyer for tenants so that landlords do not try to evict tenants who truly qualify to stay or beat them if they try. A lawyer for 6 months full-time might be $100,000. I raise the issue now so Councilmembers and Council candidates can give it some thought. And one other idea. How about extending the city eviction "moratorium" to 14 calendar days after the county moratorium expires or is repealed or invalidated? That would give the Council time to place consideration of a further extension on the agenda before the City moratorium ever expires. And, of course, the Council can always agendize the matter sooner.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 22, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2020 at 12:32 pm
Like this comment

EVERYONE MUST VOTE FOR THE PROP 21.

It will AUTOMATICALLY make ALL units built prior to 2005 in Mountain View subject to CSFRA, the website lexology posted this information in the site titled "California 2020 Ballot Initiatives Pose Risk of Major Changes to Commercial Real Estate" found here ( Web Link).

"Specifically, if adopted, Proposition 21 would:

replace the provision of Costa‑Hawkins that currently exempts a residential unit from local restrictions limiting a residential unit owner's right to establish the initial and subsequent rental rates of a unit, if that unit first received a certificate of occupancy after February 1, 1995, WITH A PROVISION THAT WOULD ALLOW SUCH EXCLUSION ONLY FOR A UNIT THAT FIRST RECEIVED A CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY WITHIN 15 YEARS OF THE DATE ON WHICH THE OWNER PROPOSES TO ESTABLISH THE INITIAL OR SUBSEQUENT RENTAL RATE OF SUCH UNIT (RESULTING IN ALL EXISTING AND NEWLY CONSTRUCTED RESIDENTIAL UNITS EVENTUALLY BECOMING SUBJECT TO LOCAL RENT CONTROL ORDINANCES DUE TO THE ROLLING NATURE OF THE REFERENCED EXCLUSION);

mandate that if a local jurisdiction adopts a rent control ordinance, then notwithstanding any more restrictive provision of that ordinance, an owner of a residential unit would be permitted to establish the initial rental rate for a new tenancy of such residential unit, BUT ONLY IF SUCH INITIAL RENTAL RATE, TOGETHER WITH ANY INCREASES IN SUCH RENTAL RATE DURING THE SUBSEQUENT THREE YEARS, IS NOT MORE THAN 15% GREATER THAN THE RENTAL RATE IN EFFECT DURING THE PRIOR TENANCY; AND

ELIMINATE THE PROVISION OF COSTA‑HAWKINS THAT CURRENTLY HAS THE EFFECT OF "GRANDFATHERING IN" EXCLUSIONARY PROVISIONS OF LOCAL RENT CONTROL ORDINANCES THAT EXISTED ON FEBRUARY 1, 1995.

Two Key Takeaways

If Proposition 21 is adopted: (i) all residential units will eventually become subject to rent control ordinances if adopted by the applicable local jurisdiction and (ii) limits on starting rent for new residential tenancies will be imposed.”

If you want a fair market for housing in Mountain View, EVERYONE must vote yes on Prop 21. Give tenants for units built prior to 2005 the same rights that are provided by CSFRA. Also do not allow outrageous rent increases due to vacancy decontrol. Cap them to 15%

I am surprised that the MV Voice has not reported on this story.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2020 at 6:39 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 24, 2020 at 6:39 pm
2 people like this

Now imagine this:

I just got an email trying to claim that I am a nuisance tenants because I have a defective disposal.

I understand that there are many disposals that are simply no good out there. I live alone and I have had prepared salads delivered, they are typically 2 servings and I am able to eat 1.5 of them. So the amount of vegetables is less than half to 1 cup when I need to clean my bowl.

The disposal was replaced when my new landlord bought the unit. My next door neighbors have one too. They appear to have no problems with theirs. I didn’t have any problems regarding mine until recently. I actually had a really good one that lasted me about 10 years, I moved into my unit in 2007. So what happened?

I get an email that was sent by the self-proclaimed eviction lawyer king Todd Rothbard claiming my landlord wants to charge me for the plumbers after they had to clear my sewage pipe. First, I have operated my disposal unit very sparingly. Second it appears that the replacement unit is not working correctly if the unit does not destroy the small amount of salads I have disposed only perhaps 2 to 3 times a week.

Why is this happening to me, perhaps because I am promoting city council candidates that are not associated with Measure D? Perhaps because I am promoting Proposition 21? What this is is a landlord that has not done anything to fix a bad disposal and places the blame of it on me?

I am not the one with the problem, my landlord simply wants to try to find an excuse to evict me for a fault HE CREATED. He also wants to charge me for a service that was a part of my unit when I moved into it in 2007 that he fails to maintain. This is unreal.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Like this comment

The Santa Clara County extended the eviction moratorium tonight.

Since Todd Rothbard makes his living on evictions, it appears that he is still on a vacation.

I hop this will continue.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 25, 2020 at 8:54 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2020 at 8:54 pm
4 people like this

Steven, I assume you mean the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors extended the County's moratorium on the eviction of tenants who claim and can prove a "substantial" loss of income or cost from the pandemic. The proposal was to extend the County's emergency ordinance for a month to and including September 30. The ordinance did not prohibit eviction lawsuits and the proposed extension did not propose any such prohibition. Eviction lawsuits have rarely been filed because of something else: Emergency Rule 1 adopted by the state Judicial Council on April 6. The Judicial Council has terminated that rule effective at midnight on September 1. Shortly thereafter, unless there is contrary state legislation or order from the Governor, eviction lawsuits will resume in numbers never seen before. And in those eviction lawsuits, defendants representing themselves will have FOOLS FOR CLIENTS. The Mountain View City Council has been warned about the impending eviction disaster but has evidently no plan to forestall it in Mountain View. Instead, the City Council is scheduled tonight (agenda item 7.2) to hand out more public funds to some landlords (through CSA) for a few hundred lucky tenants and declare it has MADE MV GREAT AGAIN or some similar slogun.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2020 at 9:19 pm
Like this comment

Gary,

Who has not been impacted by COVID?

So many lost jobs, and so much lost income? The landlords will have to prove that the tenants did not have lost income prior to issuing an eviction. Simply put, this moratorium will prevent eviction suits.

Also if you listened to the meeting, the fact that Governor Newsom's emergency orders can extend this until the state of emergency is ended. This order allows for automatic extensions at least until November 2020.

The reality is that these attorneys may fill out paperwork, but since the county has established the moratorium, the lawyers will simply waste landlords money possibly. The State Judicial Counsel court order is being preempted by the County supervisors. There are so many ways to freeze evictions in this situation.

And remember AB 1436 is still in play, and if it passes, then these attorneys are going to file paperwork that cannot be acted on until the state of emergency is lifted. So far the only thing slowing the passage is the COVID and the Fires. The Assembly and the Senate are filled with people for AB 1436 to pass. It simply is a matter of scheduling the votes and getting it signed by Governor Newsom.

The landlords should have worked on their contingency plans once the WHO issued the Pandemic Warnings. They should have had insurances that covered this pandemic issue. But they cut costs to increase their ROI. Sorry but the tenants are not an insurance policy.








Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:30 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:30 pm
2 people like this

Unless the Governor or Legislature intervenes, the eviction onslaught will commence in September. Steven, my friend, you appear to have no clue how eviction lawsuits work. And unfortunately, you could be learning about eviction the hard way shortly. You report above receiving a letter or notice about creating a "nuisance." If the letter or notice is part of a termination notice, you surely will be sued for eviction when the time is up. You could call the City and ask for a free lawyer for advice. But the City has not funded any lawyer for you to consult. Instead, the pro-landlord City Council just hands money to landlords for rent on behalf of a few hundred lucky tenants - not including Steven.


Gary
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Sylvan Park
on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:37 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:37 pm
2 people like this

The City Council is about to adopt tonight an extension of the City's so-called "eviction moratorium" that contains errors in section 2 that the City Attorney cannot see or will not admit. It refers to action later taken by the county - not action already taken today. And then it misstates the county ordinance involved.


Steven Goldstein
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Old Mountain View
on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:42 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
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on Aug 25, 2020 at 10:42 pm
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Gary,

I am watching the City Council right now. They will extend their moratorium tonight.

But what is interesting is that their extension allows it to automatically extend past September as long as the City Emergency is still in play.

I was not issued an nuisance complaint. My landlord cannot make a claim for it given it is their equipment that fails and not my conduct.

You should know that.

So I am currently waiting for their vote. They are not contesting part 1 of agenda section 7.2. That is the section regarding the eviction moratorium. The City Council has already said they are in favor of the extension.

In fact i think they extended it to November 2020.

The vote just took place at 2238 it is now extended in the City.

Gary, are you suggesting I am currently at risk?

Or are you just angry that the extension is done now, and it is likely to get longer if AB 1436 is passed.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 25, 2020 at 11:29 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
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on Aug 25, 2020 at 11:29 pm
2 people like this

You evidently did not read section 2. You and 7 City Councilmembers. As to your being at risk, I explained to you the first problem you may face. "Nuisance" is a legal basis for eviction. Non-payment of rent is another legal basis for eviction. But to be immediately "at risk," the basis or bases must be in a termination notice - that is a notice that purports to terminate the tenancy. Look, Steven. I have been an attorney for many decades. I have known landlord attorney Todd Rothbard for many decades. I have handled many eviction cases for tenants - and for small landlords - residential and commercial. I wrote the non-lawyers on the City Council about agenda item 7.2. Among other things, I suggested they not give money to landlords but instead hire a lawyer for tenants and mobile home park residents who are subject to the eviction process - starting in September. Not another city employee - but an independent contractor. Why? Because evictions are about to re-start, and renters who really could not afford to pay rent cannot afford an attorney. The matter was not even mentioned at the City Council meeting.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 12:33 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
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on Aug 26, 2020 at 12:33 am
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Gary,

Here is a proposition, I would be happy to share with you the insane emails my lawyer received regarding the stupidity of my landlord in effect demanding me to not use a garbage disposal in my apartment because it failed to shred my half cup to one cup of lettuce based prepackaged salads that I ate perhaps 2 to 3 times a week.

The original disposal was replaced my my landlord shortly after buying my building, he replaced my unit with a piece of trash unit called the Badger 100, which had only a 1 year in home warranty, and was designed to be used with a standards SEPTIC system, not a sewage system like my building. It in fact is nothing but a blower and does not grind up solids. But since I am on the top floor and have a shared drain with the lower floor, this disposal was not the right model to use.

The correct model to use was the Evolution Septic Assist 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal which provides a DURABLE COMPONENTS FOR THE TOUGHEST FOOD SCRAPS: This garbage disposal features alloy stainless steel components with our LeakGuard Liner for the highest durability and 3-Stage Multigrind Technology with jam assist to handle the toughest food scraps.

Instead my landlord has had to hire a plumber to clear the material that was not properly grinding necessary to avoid drain blockage. If he installed a unit not more than $200 more he would not have to use a plumber which cost him $700. He was insane to ask Todd to demand that I reimburse him for the plumbing costs. This was the fault of the landlord for using the wrong device. I used my disposal infrequently and with very little solid waste.

But now I am told not to use it at all. Do you really think that this situation is rational? Todd Rothbard is in effect acting to harass me for doing NOTHING wrong. You know that this is ridiculous. I am considering hiring an attorney to file a claim against my landlord for this abuse. What do you think?

Am I a nuisance or am I being harassed by my landlord?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 7:04 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 7:04 am
2 people like this

Steven, I won't give you legal advice about your particular situation. But I will offer some practical advice. Consult an attorney and stop exchanging emails with an attorney who represents your landlord. And stop commenting online about your situation. Some of what you write could be used against you in court proceedings.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 8:45 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
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on Aug 26, 2020 at 8:45 am
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Gary,

I believe you are trying to claim some kind of "trade secrets" are being exposed by my making the situation public? You know that I am not making any false claims, nor making any defamatory statements as long as they are accurate. As long as I am not making any false statements, I am immune to any defamation claims. Thus there is no issues with me disclosing the problem here.

The reality is that any act to harass me is not protected by any legal recourse from Todd Rothbard. I can simply present all the emails to prove my point. I think what you don't like is I am airing the dirty laundry to the public, and it will be forever out here so that my landlords actions can be discovered prior to leasing with him. Thus potentially preventing others from suffering what I am.

You lawyers want to have the freedom to intimidate people and try to claim it is "protected" communication. It simply isn't true. That has been nothing but a big lie. I am not a client of Todd Rothbard, so I have the freedom to disclose anything he does. I think what I could do is make a complaint to the Bar regarding his conduct? Isn't that true? Given he as an officer of the court cannot conduct himself in a way that could be a violation of any tenant harassment actions?

I do not like being threatened or intimidated for doing nothing wrong. Are you in fact also starting to do this too? The reality is that I am being targeted for my speech, and their are laws against retaliation. On top of this, I am disabled, I receive Social Security Disability Insurance. So I could argue that I am being treated intentionally to attempt to force me out of my apartment. Gary, maybe you are upset that in fact you now know what is really going on and it is not good.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 11:26 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 11:26 am
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Gary,

I just got a letter from my neighbor downstairs.

It turns out the plumbing in my building allows 3 drains to join with his prior to going to the sewer pipes.

My landlord claimed that I was the only problem with the plumbing to Todd Rothbard.

This is proving to be false, and such Todd Rothbard has made a false claim regarding my sole responsibility for the plumbing problems.

The only way to deal with this short of invalidating leases because the amenities were part of the price is to replace our disposals.

THEREBY I am NOT a nuisance in this case at all.

It is gross mismanagement of the building by the landlord. He should have known about the plumbing before he bought the building. He accepted the required maintenance upon purchase of it. Time for him to get hi act together.

On top of this my Toilet is now not working correctly.


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm
2 people like this

Some people - including many politicians - like to pontificate but have trouble listening or accepting advice.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 26, 2020 at 3:34 pm
2 people like this

Gary,

First you go on and imply if not claim I am a nuisance tenant.

Second you assume I was the cause of the problems with the plumbing in the building.

Now you say I an in some way ignorant because I disprove both arguments you make to somehow discredit me personally.

It really sounds like you simply are trying to make excuses for the poor decisions of a landlord, by trying to make my actions contributory. They weren't and you know it.

The fact is that putting the right disposal into my unit would have prevented problems, but my landlord didn't know or chose to put the wrong one into it.

Isn't this correct?


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm
2 people like this

@Steven Goldberg sounds like you do not use enough water when using your disposal. If I were your landlord I would remove it immediately. It's an amenity not a necessity. Why are you still renting, if you have to bash everything related to landlords and rental housing issues? Buy an RV and park it anywhere in OMV. You will be free of all these issues.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:05 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:05 pm
2 people like this

Polomon,

He is going to violate the CSFRA if he did.

In fact he demanded me not use it. I am currently volunteering to not operate it.

But the fact that it was a function of my unit and removal would break the maintenance clause of the CSFRA would leave him wide open for a major rent reduction.

In fact his demand was unjustified and was just trying to put the blame of his problems with his plumbing on me.

However he recently installed 4 dishwashers into the building WITHOUT making ANY adjustments to the plumbing. Thus he is overwhelming the sewage pipe most likely. He also hasn't done any inspection of the possible changes in the plumbing due to the chemicals used by dishwashers.

I also have learned that my next door unit has a 1/2 hp disposal, and I am working on the other units in my part of the building. My unit is only 1/3 hp it is 25% less functional to my next door neighbor.

He replaced my earlier unit trying to claim it was replaced with a like unit. What happens if it turns out the majority of my units have 1/2 hp disposal? What would it be if my unit is the only one with this kind of disposal installed? Have you considered that problem?

I suspect my unit is in a minority in my building. If I can figure out that my device is the only disposal with this power level, than what do you suggest?


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm
2 people like this

Am I glad I am not a landlord in MV!


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Aug 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Aug 27, 2020 at 8:08 pm
2 people like this

Polomon,

I understand. Anyone deciding to buy a $1.15 Million building for $5 Million is responsible for their actions.

Making major changes to the building without taking into account the operational changes that happens is also the responsibility of the actor.

Trying to make claims regarding the design of the plumbing is also a significant issue.

First he claimed that I was responsible for backup water in the unit below me.

But he told my downstairs neighbor that all 4 units collect to his unit prior to discharge to the sewer. My neighbor sent me and my next door neighbor a letter describing it.

BUT I looked at my street and discovered the Sewage point on the street comes out not at his unit be the unit next to him.

And this also proves there is only one pipe connecting to the sewage system.

Imagine adding 4 water appliances to an 11 unit building over 50 years old, where the plumbing probably needs to be overhauled to deal with the new devices and that they probably have obstructions inside the pipes.

Am I the one that is responsible for this situation, I moved into the building in 2007. I have installed a water saver shower head prior to his purchase. I work to conserve water any chance I can. I use only power saver light bulbs. I only have one heater in the building with no vents to pass the warmth to my bedroom. I have no ceiling fans or a/c except form the one I own in my bedroom.

I as the customer am not the problem no matter what you and others that want no accountability for landlords.

Why should I have to leave when I am not causing the problems in this situation?


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