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Urging "No" Vote on Proposed Tenant Relocation Ordinance

From: domainremoved <Michelle>
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 20:02:56 +0000

Like many property owners, I empathize with the families who are being displaced due to notices of exorbitant rent increases and generally frown upon such practices. However, the proposed ordinance, though well meaning, misses its mark.

  1. The intended group of "beneficiaries" is overly broad. Of course renters who are low income and do not have the resources to find another apartment/house should be helped but since when does a family making $170,000 need such protection?
  2. The intended group of landlords is overly broad. Landlords come in all different shapes, sizes and assets. Some of the "mom and pop" landlords (1-3 units) may themselves be "low income" or on a fixed income and it would be inequitable for these landlords to be required to pay relocation fees to a tenant who actually makes more than they do! Perhaps there should be an exception for low and moderate income landlords. If so, will city employees oversee this program?
  3. If leases which are negotiated between any given landlord and tenant cannot simply end on their own without a landlord paying a relocation fee, this creates a "windfall" for tenants at the sole expense of landlords.
  4. Will landlords now ask to see a tenant's federal income tax return to verify income? How many landlords will favor tenants with exorbitantly high incomes so as to avoid the proposed ordinance? How many landlords who have been equitable with rent increases in the past now feel the tug to increase their rentals to the max if this proposed ordinance passes?

I understand this is a complex issue, but possible solutions would be to:

  1. Require a longer notice (3 months) to tenants for increases higher than 10% (suggested by one letter writer), thereby allowing tenants ample ime to look for another rental.
  2. Create a fund for renters/families who receive such notices and do not have the resources to find another rental. Perhaps the community of Landlords would be willing to donate to such a fund in lieu of spending thousands of dollars fighting this proposed ordinance if it passes.
  3. Provide incentives for the creation of additional housing for renters.
  4. Lower the threshhold of eligible income for tenants to make it more in line with Palo Alto (where the rents are probably higher than in Menlo Park), so that the group of beneficiaries is not overly broad.

This crises was not created overnight and I would urge City Council to be cautious in voting for a "quick fix" that may do more harm in the long run.

Thank you for your consideration.
Received on Tue Feb 12 2019 - 11:59:10 PST

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