facing a tremendous housing crisis that puts the most extreme pressure on our lowest income individuals that often reside in the City’s rent controlled units. However, state law restricts what units the City can include in its Rent Control Ordinance, and in San Jose that means units built before 1979. My approach to this issue, was that I thought the City should take a balanced approach to any changes to its rent control ordinance. We will not fix our housing issues through increased rent control, but there is an opportunity to help a portion of those renters in these units. I proposed changes in a memo (link) to the City Council that were in between what the City staff was recommending and the older ordinance. I also included a proposal that would address displacement, and proposed a relocation policy for those in units, such as the current Reserve Apartments on Winchester Boulevard, that are proposed to be replaced with new units.The Council, on April 19th, approved many of the changes that I initially proposed with some minor changes. Here is a short summary of what was adopted at that meeting:
- Annual Allowable Increase: Reduce 8% annual increase to 5% annual increase; allow an owner to bank up to 10% of unused annual increases; when the annual allowable, banked increases, and capital improvement cost pass-through are combined, limit the total annual increase to 8%.
- Debt Service Pass-Through: Eliminate the debt service pass-through.
- Capital Improvement Cost Pass-Through: Develop a list of major capital improvements that can be approved through a streamlined, administrative process which limits hearings only to instances when a tenant files a petition.
- Rent Registry: Develop a full rent registry, utilizing technology to the greatest extent possible, to allow for full monitoring, enforcement and compliance with the ordinance.
- Anti-Retaliation & Protection Ordinance: Develop and implement an Anti-Retaliation & Protection Ordinance, which provides typical “Good Cause for Eviction” protections to tenants who have reported substantiated code violations after their owner or property manager have failed to make repairs. Staff was directed to return to the City Council with a report of no-cause evictions by the end of 2017.