San Jose rejects CPI-based rent control, sticks with 5 percent cap

After hours of debate, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday rejected a proposal to begin basing its annual rent cap on the rate of inflation.

At the urging of CAA, the council instead voted 6-5 to maintain the city’s current 5 percent limit on annual rent increases.

The California Apartment Association attended Tuesday’s meeting in force, with members speaking against the proposal to base rent control on the Consumer Price Index. The CPI is now about 3.4 percent but fluctuates.

Extended its current policy on Ratio Utility Billing Systems, or RUBS, until March
The city’s 5 percent cap, on the other hand, provides a fixed, predictable limit, making it easier for owners and renters to budget for annual adjustments.

The council Tuesday also rejected a proposal to begin applying rent control to duplexes. The city’s rent control policy will continue to apply to multifamily rental units built before 1979.

Moreover, the council extended the existing policy on utility cost sharing (also known as Ratio Utility Billing Systems or RUBs) until March of next year, when it can be further studied.

The council’s decision to maintain current policies on RUBS and rent increases marks a significant victory for CAA and its members.

CAA extends its thanks to Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmembers Chappie Jones, Lan Diep, Dev Davis, Tam Nguyen and Johnny Khamis for their leadership.

Had the council approved CPI-based rent control, it would have marked the second time in two years that the city lowered its limits on rent adjustments.

The city’s 5 percent rent cap won approval in 2016. It had previously been set at 8 percent annually.

Pacifica’s rent control measure defeated in landslide

Pacifica voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7, overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have enacted both rent control and eviction controls on multifamily housing in the city.

Measure C went down in defeat, with 62.03 percent of the vote cast against the proposal. This marks the third time a rent control ballot measure has been resoundingly defeated in San Mateo County. Last year, voters of San Mateo and Burlingame overwhelmingly rejected rent control.

CAA is pleased that voters have rejected a law that would have been disastrous for the city. If implemented, the program would have cost Pacifica nearly $2 million, establish a non-elected bureaucracy at City Hall, diverted money earmarked for street repairs, and led to overcrowding in apartments.

The battle against rent control in Pacifica has been a long one, having started in 2015, when the City Council majority voted against the punitive policy to address the region’s housing shortage. Instead, they voted to create a Rent Advisory Task Force to explore programs that would improve relations between renters and owners. Earlier this year, however, after a change in the makeup of the City Council, the new Council majority overturned that decision, placed Measure C on the ballot, and passed an interim rent control ordinance to be in effect from May to Election Day.

CAA was instrumental in defeating both the temporary ordinance and Measure C, working in partnership with both the local Stop the Hidden Tax committee and the Pacifica Coalition of Housing Equality, which is sponsored by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. These efforts have helped ensure that neither of these dangerous measures would cause significant damage to Pacifica, its budget, and its housing market.