Measure D would raise limit on apartment rent increases

rent control

BY SONYA HERRERA
Daily Post Staff Writer

Former Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel said the California Apartment Association is being “deceptive” in their mailers supporting Measure D, a proposal on the March 3 ballot that would allow higher rent increases on rent-controlled apartments.

Measure D, which was put on the ballot by City Council, would replace the current limit on rent increases — which is the consumer price index — with a 4% ceiling.

The measure would also allow non-Mountain View landlords to serve on the city’s Rental Housing Commission, which oversees rent control, if those landlords own rental property in the city.

The ballot argument in favor of Measure D — whose authors include City Council members Margaret Abe-Koga, John McAlister and Chris Clark — said that the measure allows landlords to fix up older apartments instead of tearing them down.

The group also wrote that Measure D lowers rent increases from 5% to 4% per year, though the measure would actually raise the allowable rent increase from the consumer price index, which most recently was 3.5%.

Siegel said the California Apartment Association, a political group representing landlords, has sent out “deceptive” mailers saying that the measure will protect rent control.

“The two renters they had on their initial mailer were saying things that weren’t true,” Siegel said. “The guy who wants to be protected against earthquakes doesn’t live in a soft-story building (a type of building prone to collapse in an earthquake), and the guy who says that Measure D will help lower his rent isn’t in a rent-controlled apartment.”

Pamela Baird, a former member of the city’s planning commission, said she has recycled the apartment association’s mailers.

“The system that was put in place, with rent increases tied to the consumer price index, is a more fair way of doing things,” Baird said. “It fluctuates, but I think it’s tied to a more realistic cost of living.”

Local housing organizer Alex Nunez said that the consumer price index has not risen to 4% since 2001, and that it was deceptive for landlords to suggest that changing the allowable rent increase to 4% would save renters money.

“That is not an honest way of communicating the issue to voters,” Nunez said.

In addition, Nunez said that the measure would allow landlords to raise the rent for renovations, which could allow for annual rent increases up to 10% under the recently passed state law AB1482.

David Watson, a volunteer with the pro-housing group South Bay YIMBY, said his group is not “wild” about the measure.

“It seems relatively anti-tenant,” Watson said. “I don’t like that it’s somewhat deceitful in its advertisements.”

5 Comments

  1. A “Local Housing Organizer” is someone who does not own the rental property, but they tell the property owner what they can and can not do.

    Like telling them they have to do seismic upgrades to their property which costs Hundreds of Thousands of dollars for an average size building, and then tells the landlords you can not pass any of that cost to the tenants.

    • The cost of seismic upgrades can be passed along to renters under the CURRENT rent control law through a petition process that lets landlords preserve their “fair rate of return” in order to maintain their historical profit margins. Measure D expands what the landlord can charge so that they can apply a surcharge for seismic retrofits, environmental upgrades and construction that “extends the life” of the building, even when the landlord doesn’t need the surcharge in order to get their fair rate of return.

  2. Poster above. You are misleading in your comments. Under current rent control law, the ordinance that was written by outside our city, by an activist group, wrote it so that the process is so complex requiring owners to submit hundreds of pages of documents only to be denied in the end. The city council recognize this unfairness and seeks to streamline the process so that new ordinances, and needed capitol improvements can be done to upkeep these 70 year old properties. Otherwise, if Measure D fails, only the bare minimal of upkeep will be done and our city will turn blighted in many areas.

    It is really unfair that a group of people can force a business owner, property owner, to loose their equal rights that every other person/business has. No one else has these outrages unfair citizen forced laws onto a group of people.
    They have broken no law, they are not the reason for properties being so expensive in our area. Stop punishing them.

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