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As City Council advances renter protection laws, landlords demand a voice

Original post made on Nov 30, 2021

Seeking to protect low-income renters from displacement, a divided Palo Alto City Council moved on Monday to craft new laws that would restrict evictions and prevent sharp rent increases.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 1:04 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by New PaloAltan
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Nov 30, 2021 at 3:55 pm

New PaloAltan is a registered user.

Why would anybody be FOR gouging tenants? Besides landlords, of course. As the population ages and the balance of renters gets more weighted to the elderly instead of the young, higher rents hurts everyone. As a late teen, I could afford to rent an apartment of my own without any roommates. Now, with rents prohibitively high, NO ONE can afford to rent alone. If I had to sacrifice my privacy as a young twenty something (and my safety) I'm not sure I'd have stayed on this side of sane. Now that I'm old, if I had to get a roommate? I honestly think I would rather live in my car. For the aforementioned reasons -- privacy and safety. I have no family members left and even if I did, there's a REASON why I chose to get my own apartment at 18. My family took all the fun out of "dysFUNction" and made it into something more like a horror movie. Now, an 18 year old without choices of where they would LIKE to live vs where they HAVE to live due to finances will likely do desperate things. Sure, I had to work 3 jobs but at 18 I came home to my own place where I didn't have to worry about a roommate having sex on my couch when I walked in, or their friends eating all of my food, or somebody stealing my change jar. Now, as an old person, I was on the brink of financial instability this article talks about and I was told I should get a roommate. OVER MY DEAD BODY! I didn't work my entire life to end up like a lot of 18 year olds end up now. I'm not crying over landlords potentially NOT being able to gouge tenants to death. I am totally for fair rent, AND RENT CONTROL. And I'm against eviction without cause. So... I guess nobody will ever want to rent to me!

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2021 at 7:42 am

felix is a registered user.

Speaking as someone who is a landlord in another city with strong renter protections, there has been ample opportunity for involvement in this matter by rental property owners. Many showed up and spoke at earlier meetings. Enough already.

The beefing up of eviction protection was vital because it helps keep a good tenant in their housing, not just help once they lose it. It doesn’t apply to evictions for a cause, only to those for no cause. Why would we want to keep allowing that - it’s just wrong.

These protections are common sense and don’t interfere with reasonable rental practices.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 1, 2021 at 8:25 am

Citizen is a registered user.

Rent control is the government taking the property of one American and giving it to another, without compensation. Tenants who refuse to pay fair market rent simply want the government to subsidize them using someone else's hard earned property.

Rent control, restrictions on security deposits, eviction restrictions, will all lead to less investment in housing.

Check the Stanford rent control study.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2021 at 10:46 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

Long-time landlords are beneficiaries of Prop 13, and its tax savings. They don't pass these savings on to their tenants. They enjoy the profits that follow those tax savings as they deliver new families to the school district without the revenue contribution that the sale of a home might bring.

That said, more rental housing is needed. There are some good landlords who treat people with dignity and respect--who value good tenants and charge reasonable rental rates. It's unfortunate that some people will take advantage of others, but for some, greed is a driving force in life.

I watched the Council session. It seemed to me they tried hard to strike a balance that will be fair and minimize negative impacts on good tenants and good landlords.

To greedy landlords...Please consider that your behavior necessitated this action. Had you been more self-restrained and treated tenants with decency, no one would have asked for these changes. You brought this on yourselves.

I'm fortunate to own a home, but I have many friends who are renters. I have been appalled at the abusive treatment and dangerous neglect of property that many of their landlords rain on them. These landlords should be ashamed. It seems to me, Council is doing the right thing.

Posted by Mark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 1, 2021 at 11:32 am

Mark is a registered user.

We own 104 units. It works like this—there is no big money in the actual income from rents (operating income) less in net income. Market should set rates. There is money in the property appreciation that we refinance and use to take risk on other investments. Tenants don’t take that risk. We do. Tenants also don’t install capital improvements like roofs. Water heaters. Asphalt—things invisible to them. There is a $500 per month rent burden to a tenant they will pay over market to keep them from moving. That’s it. Charge more than that they leave then we have a turnover. Turnovers are where we LOSE money. We want GOOD tenants to STAY because it makes more-or we lose more if they leave—paint, flooring, time value of non rentable units. We want good tenants to stay. BUT California laws now takeS the ability to get LOUSY tenants out-it’s all —yes even for cause—the ones that good quiet tenants that pay on time are bothered by—yes even for cause—and it’s highly regulated. Try eliciting one. Go to court—I’ve done it.Not fun. No payers drag it out for months until a sheriff unlocks the door on the last day 3 or 4 months later after initial services for non payment—which means 5 months of non rent. We walk in to a destroyed unit. Yes even graffitis and a sledge hammered shower enclosure—it’s a nightmare. Non tenants want to take even more control of out assets. Here’s an idea—saves all the money you have to go out to breakfast and movies and Starbucks for years to save a down payment. Then purchase a duplex like we did 30 years ago and try leveraging up. Spend Thanksgivings and Christmas at a Home Depot buying things to fix up units like we did.don’t take vacations for years. Save everything. Go to good will and shop for everything for years to put money into units so tenants can have new carpet when yours is 30 years old. I wish yo luck. I’ve been on sides. Most people don’t have a clue to how it actually works.

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 1, 2021 at 12:40 pm

John is a registered user.

This article and the comments, save Mark’s, areexactly why I invest outside CA, in states that respect property rights and understand that the best way to control rent costs is by building ample supply.

Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 1, 2021 at 12:41 pm

cmarg is a registered user.

I hope that there if any changes are made for rent control for those less fortunate that there the process includes finding out the real worth of those wanting low-income housing. I recall stories of people just saying they wanted to stay there with low rents because they felt they deserved it even though it was a larger than needed space and much less than they could afford. There are those few bad apples that spoil the bunch. Just please make sure there is a process to check, like tax returns. Also, I know of a very wealthy family that had their mom live in a low income housing unit. Why, I will never know. Seems unconscionable.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2021 at 1:02 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

PA landlords are foolish, using every loophole in their playbook to not accept Section 8 guaranteed rent payments. The good in accepting 1) Rent can be raised reasonably 2) The county incentivize landlords w $2K cash bonus to accept S8 Voucher renter 3) S8 pays fair market rents, even in a Palo Alto market. 4) Low turn-over. I am an excellent tenant, abide by rules and take premium care of the homes I rent. My family of three young children, is currently stuck in cycle of systemic poverty in Palo Alto because PA landlords refuse to accept our voucher so we can move from 650 square feet to 900 square feet. Landlords don’t return calls or make or place other unreadable burdens on S8 applicants that automatically deny us a chance to rise out of poverty. Please. Give hardworking families a chance who because of life circumstance are poor yet worthy, contributing, active, involved citizens of the Palo Alto community. It’s heartbreaking . The COVID induced economy and home market is so volatile, it’s is a game of Jinga: pull any one stick out — housing, job or car, and a family is now on the streets ! How much unhoused dwelling on our streets costing our communities?! How much is personal greed over the common good costing our times now?!

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

[Post removed; successive comments by same poster are not permitted.]

Posted by Speak your truth
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 3, 2021 at 11:04 pm

Speak your truth is a registered user.

Hello all ,
Such great input .
Just wanted to share - I rent out my house in Germany ???????? and it’s a 5 year lease and fixed rent .
I like the Golden rule . Seems the days of Ozzie and Harriet are gone . I think team work between renter and owner engaging for the common good
Makes the dream work.
This problem is not unlike any other problem under the sun - one might ask oneself serious questions about one’s intentions .
If one cares about the good of the other over greed and about serving others that’s really nice .
Maybe if one has not rented a home or apt / condo / room here over the ..past 20 years — one may have no true idea what it’s really like .
For those who have rented I’m sure they can relate .
I am happy to share that my belief in the property managing company seeing me as a human being was running very low - until that one fine day .
One day I rented from a couple who were fair .
They also maybe didn’t “need “the money —“ SO “much money anyway ??? Maybe ?
COVID 19 hit and rent was paid on time until two months before we moved out. This couple didn’t ask for the rent .
Yep . Rent free for 2 months . The fair deposit / just one months rent - was returned . Powerful good .
I pass it on now also .
I ask myself if I rented my Palo Alto home would I be fair ?
Just because the going rate is say 6k / mo , would I charge it ? If I didn’t really need all that money ? The higher price next door the higher ..and even still higher ..the price will go . Does price increase spread like a rumor or gossip . Is that how we roll ? Am I mistaken to think some pretty creative real estate deals took ( take ) place Gosh . No contingencies - all cash - bidding wars - sight unseen .
I can’t compete in that hunt anymore.
Buying a 3 - 20 million dollar home would be reasonable if I earned alot . But that’s not why the home prices are so high ,right?
Ask a renter -and owner - how has it been ?
There’s no place like home .

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