A landlord-backed initiative that would have significantly slashed Mountain View’s rent control law will not appear on the November ballot, after its supporters decided to withdraw the measure on Friday.
Tenant advocacy groups hailed the decision to drop the measure they dubbed “the underhand repeal” on August 7, just three months before polling day, calling it a victory over an existential threat to protection tenants in the city. Supporters came under heavy criticism after several voters said they were misled by paid signature collectors into signing a petition to put the measure on the ballot.
“The (measure) was based on deception,” said Steve Chandler, a member of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. “Kudos to our neighbors in Mountain View for standing up and standing up for the truth.”
The ballot initiative, dubbed the Mountain View Landlord, Tenant and Taxpayer Protection Initiative, was slated for the general election ballot on November 3 this year after receiving enough signatures to qualify in 2018. The measure was proposed by former city councilor John. Inks and real estate agent Bryan Danforth, but was largely led by the California Apartment Association.
More importantly, the measure would have suspended almost all tenant protections under the city’s rent control program, known as the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA), in the event the rate City rental vacancy is 3% or more. The vacancy rate has not fallen below 3% for at least two decades, leading some opponents to describe the initiative as a “sneaky repeal” of rent controls.
The measure would have limited rent control to only households representing up to 100% of the median income in the region and would have capped the annual fees imposed on landlords for operating CSFRA.
Joshua Howard, spokesperson for the California Apartment Association (CAA), said in a statement Monday that the initiative was causing problems because of his age. Written in 2018, the measure now conflicts with new statewide legislation – AB 1482 – which caps rent increases and imposes “just cause” protection against evictions.
Between that and shifting priorities to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, Howard said the association was no longer working on passing the measure.
“The 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 – 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 of the fate of the ballot measure and which parts of it would comply with the ‘AB 1482. He said he remained a staunch opponent of rent control.
“I don’t fault tenants and workers at all for pushing back high rents and seeking minimum wage levels,” Inks said. “However, I still do not support politically mandated wage and price controls for economic reasons. Overall, the best value for consumers is when the sellers ‘and buyers’ market sets and pays prices. based on choice, not mandates. “
It is not known how much support the measure would have received at the polls. During the primary elections in March, Measure D supported by the municipal council tried to relax Mountain View’s rent-control protections, but was easily defeated by more than two-thirds of voters. Supporters of the measure described it as a compromise between existing law and the owner-backed measure, and said they would strike a deal for the CAA to abandon its own November measure if Measure D passed.
In the ballot argument filed against the now withdrawn November measure, City Councilor Alison Hicks wrote that business owners were trying to deceive residents with deceptive and deceptive statements. If the initiative were to win, Hicks said it would allow landlords to increase rent by more than 7% per year, limited only by non-binding arbitration.
“The tenant could go through a dispute resolution process to determine the reasonableness of an increase greater than 7%, but the outcome of that process would be only advisory and not binding on the landlord,” the poll argued.
Hicks also worried that because rent controls only apply to families below the median income, landlords would be pressured not to rent to low-income families.
The November measure also encountered opposition from the Mountain View Mobile Home Alliance, a coalition of residents of the city’s six mobile home parks. Although mobile home tenants are currently exempt from CSFRA and the city’s mobile home parks do not have rent controls, the group has fought against efforts to reduce tenant protections in the city. .
Alliance chairman Tim Larson said he was happy to learn that CSFRA is no longer threatened by the November measure and that the hope is to extend rent controls to mobile home parks soon. from the city.
“Many of our members are literally anxious for the protections that currently protect other Mountain View residents,” said Larson.
In a statement Friday, former city councilor Lenny Siegel said the measure was a veiled attempt to repeal the city’s rent control law of 2016, making it on the ballot across collection of signatures for a fee in 2018 and $ 260,000 in campaign expenses large apartment companies in Mountain View. Despite costly efforts 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 ended the measure on Friday,” Siegel said. “I don’t remember any other case where the California Apartment Association threw in the towel on a ballot measure. It’s something we can be proud of.”