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Study Session on Tenant Relocation Ordinance

From: Neville Batliwalla <"Neville>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2019 09:41:51 -0800

Dear Mayor Mueller and Members of the City Council,

I do not support the Housing Commission's Tenant Relocation Ordinance and
urge you to find equitable, community-based alternatives that aren't
punitive or burdensome on city resources.

As a housing provider who offers quality, safe housing to my tenants and
recognizes our region's housing challenges, I have significant concerns with
this approach:

1. The City of Menlo Park can't afford this program. The city is
extremely short-staffed and is not structured to administer, operate, and
enforce this program. Adopting this will pull city resources away from
focusing on important initiatives such as economic development, traffic
mitigation, and quality of life improvements.
2. Doesn't address the real housing problem. Even if all these
conditions are approved and a displaced tenant receives relocation payments,
this does not create a single additional unit, and in fact incentives the
reduction of rental units in Menlo Park. This ultimately makes housing more
3. This is going to make the affordability problem worse. If housing
providers are required to pay a relocation penalty after every termination
of tenancy or any time a tenant moves out after getting a rent increase,
then housing providers will set rents higher to cover their costs.
4. Many small mom and pops will be driven out of business. These are
the same people who provide naturally affordable housing in the city! The
majority of buildings are fewer than fifty units and have renters who
generally have good relationships with their landlords.
5. This is rent control in disguise. It's a form of rent control and
just cause eviction disguised as relocation ordinance. Menlo Park voters
joined San Mateo County and the State in rejecting Prop 10. The city should
consider that Menlo Park voters did not support policies like rent control.

If the intent is to help vulnerable members of the community who are facing
housing emergencies, then a better approach is to explore emergency housing
assistance programs that is funded by the community-at large vs a specific
class of small business owners.

Thank you for your consideration.


Neville Batliwalla

Received on Sun Feb 10 2019 - 09:38:13 PST

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