Landlords group pulls ballot measure that would have trimmed back rent control

rent control

Daily Post Staff Writer

The supporters of what was called a “sneaky repeal” of rent control in Mountain View are withdrawing their ballot measure, saying it would conflict with a new state law and that the measure could be a distraction to dealing with the coronavirus, the California Apartments Association (CAA) and former councilman John Inks confirmed today (Aug. 10).

“In light of the pandemic, it is important that resources be focused on helping everyone in the community navigate these challenging times,” Joshua Howard said, the CAA’s vice president of local public affairs.

The state law, referred to as AB1482, helps more people than the city measure, according to Howard. Howard also said that the measure could end up confusing landlords and tenants if passed.

Inks who along with resident Bryan Danforth worked with the CAA to get the measure on the ballot pointed to the March failure of Measure D, would have changed the city’s rent control law to increase the amount landlords could raise the rent, as a sign that this measure would likely fail in November.

The measure would have suspended rent control if the city’s vacancy rate goes above 3%. It also would have limited rent control to only apply to people who earn 100% or less of the area’s median income, which in 2018 was $128,252, according to the Census Bureau.

So on Friday, Inks filed paperwork with City Clerk Lisa Natusch to get the measure off the ballot. The city council will meet for a special meeting tomorrow (Aug. 11) to vote to take the measure off the ballot.

The measure’s demise comes after some two years of work. Proponents of the measure tried to get it on the 2018 ballot but fell short of getting the necessary 5,126 signatures needed to land on the ballot. However, by October, proponents got the needed signatures for it to appear on the ballot.

But because the measure was written two years ago, it’s outdated and things have changed, Inks pointed out, saying that he doesn’t care about the removal of the measure from the ballot.

Inks added that the ballot will be long already, especially with nine people running for four seats on the city council. The ballot will also have 12 state ballot propositions.

One of the people running for council this year is former Mayor Lenny Siegel, who gave the measure its “sneaky repeal” name, as he opposed it. It would have been a repeal of Measure V, the rent control ordinance that was approved by voters in 2016.

Siegel called the removal of the measure from the ballot “a huge victory for the Mountain View housing justice movement,” in an email blast to supporters over the weekend.

“Faced with certain defeat the apartment owners pulled the plug on the measure Friday, Aug. 7. 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,” Siegel wrote.