Why do we need this law?

Like many communities in the Bay Area, Mountain View has been plagued in recent months by rapid – and lawful — displacement of long-standing tenants who never did anything wrong. Because the market is red hot right now, and landlords are “able” to charge high rents, they have an economic incentive to raise rents or to evict tenants who can’t afford higher rents. This law would protect our community and enable us to preserve the diversity that makes Mountain View great, while still allowing landlords a reasonable and fair return on their investment.

Isn’t this just rent control?

It’s not “rent control” as some people define the term, because landlords can set the initial amount of rent at whatever the market will bear when a unit is built or vacated. Also, a landlord can still choose how much to raise the rent as long as it is under the allowed annual increase.

Do other cities have these laws? Do they work?

Some cities in CA already have rent stabilization and just cause, including Santa Monica, Oakland, East Palo Alto, and San Francisco. Nothing is perfect, but these laws provide basic protections to prevent the unintended consequences of a rental housing market out of control.

 Won’t this keep developers from wanting to build more housing in Mountain View?

The law would not—and cannot—apply to any new construction. There is no reason it would have a chilling effect on development.

What if I rent out my single-family home, or a room in it?

Single-family homes, condos, duplexes and companion units are not covered by either the rent stabilization or “just cause” protections of the law.

Is this fair to landlords?

The rent stabilization measures enable landlords to make a fair return on their investment. If in any particular case the law’s limit means a landlord can’t make a fair rate of return, they can petition for a hearing to explain and be able to raise the rent more.

I don’t understand the purpose of the committee; can you tell me more?

The Committee will have a few roles. One is to make sure all landlords and tenants understand the law and know what every year’s CPI and lawful rent increase is. Another is to hold hearings for landlords or tenants who think the lawful limits on rent are not fair in their circumstance—either too high or too low. The committee will also be in charge of creating regulations related to this new law.

If I sign the petition, do I have to vote “yes” on the amendment in November?

No! Signing the petition only means that you think the people of Mountain View should decide what to do on this law.

What do you mean you can’t be kicked out unless your landlord has a “good” reason?

Without this law, a landlord can evict a tenant without having to show any kind of reason at all. So long as they give 60 days’ notice, for example, they can evict a tenant who has lived in the same apartment for years, paid all the rent, and never caused any problem. One of the reasons we need this law is to protect those long-standing, rule-abiding tenants, who otherwise can be kicked out just so landlords can raise rent. With this law, a landlord can’t kick a tenant out just because they can’t afford a huge rent increase.