BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Almost 15,000 tenants in Mountain View may be eligible for refunds, the city’s Rental Housing Committee ruled last night, ending a dispute over the start date of a new rent control law.
The committee, which was created with the November passage of the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act by 53.5% of the vote, voted unanimously that the law went into effect on Dec. 23.
After Measure V passed, the California Apartment Association filed a lawsuit challenging the measure’s constitutionality. A temporary restraining order signed by a judge went into effect until April 5, preventing the city from enforcing the measure. Landlords argued that the rent control law should go into effect on April 5. That idea was rejected by the committee last night.
Fifteen weeks of rent that for some tenants, was higher than what they would have paid under rent control, can mean big refunds for some renters.
The rent control measure requires that all units built before Feb. 1, 1995, have their rent rolled back to the base rent paid on Oct. 19, 2015. For tenants who moved in after Oct. 19, 2015, the rent is rolled back to the rent they paid upon move-in.
The law applies to buildings with at least three apartments. Duplexes, condos and single-family homes are exempt.
According to the Santa Clara County tax assessor’s office, 14,770 units in Mountain View were built before Feb. 1, 1995 and meet other criteria, making them “fully covered” units.
“Partially covered units” are the 2,018 units built after Feb. 1, 1995 but before Dec. 23 that meet other criteria.
Increases limited to 3.4% a year
The rule bars landlords at fully covered units from raising rent by more than 3.4% once per year with at least a month’s written notice. It also prevents landlords at all fully and partially covered units from evicting tenants without one of nine “just cause” conditions, including rent nonpayment or partaking in criminal activity.
Alternate committee member Julian Pardo de Zela sat in for Tom Means, who was absent.