The city of Mountain View approved a rental housing fee for the next fiscal year that’s lower than last year’s. But some landlords still say it’s too high.
The Rental Housing Committee voted to approve its $2.1 million budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year at a June 20 meeting. The committee oversees issues such as rent control and eviction protections through the city's Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act.
To fund that budget, the committee also approved a $96 fee per rental unit that landlords must incur.
Rent Stabilization Program Manager Anky van Deursen said the number of rental properties subject to the city's rental housing fee is nearly 15,000 units and hasn't changed since last year.
Last fiscal year (2021-22), the rental housing fee was $102, making this year’s fee nearly 6% lower. But in the 2020-21 fiscal year, the fee was $85.
Public comment on the item was mixed.
“They’re regulating landlords using landlord money,” said local landlord Jeff Zell. “We’re paying for this budget to get regulated by you guys, and we get punished every time. … These rates should be finding a way to come down, come down significantly, and stop screwing us every time.”
But others said that rental housing fees can be factored into rents, just like any other change to the market.
“I would just like to point out there is a tenant's point of view regarding the annual housing fee,” said public commenter Edie Keating. “It’s that there’s vacancy de-control, so while all the landlords are business people, they are certainly considering what the annual fee is when they are setting the rents that they are charging for new tenancies.”
The committee’s $2.1 million budget is roughly the same size as last year’s approved budget. The 2022-23 budget includes about $1.1 million for personnel, $173,500 for general operating costs, $416,500 for professional services, $133,000 for the IT system, and $296,360 for city resources and administrative support.
“The budget is just huge. It’s over $2 million,” said public commenter Theresa. “This is becoming really a bureaucracy that’s sort of feeding itself.”
But resident Alex Brown held a different view.
“You’re worth every penny,” he told the committee.