SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Amid soaring rents in Silicon Valley, a concerted effort by police, the District Attorney’s Office and the city officials is underway to ensure that landlords and investors are managing their properties responsibly in Santa Clara County.
The Responsible Landlord Engagement Initiative, which began in 2008 and is supported by the Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley and the United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County, relaunched its program extending its reach throughout the county on Wednesday.
Acting as a mediator, the RLEI program gives landlords, property owners, tenants, community leaders, elected officials, service providers and social justice advocates the opportunity to come up with solutions for housing issues.
San Jose city officials have reported an increase of cases in which landlords and management companies have not been taking care of their properties.
“From bedbugs to cockroach infestations, to leaky roofs, chop shops working out of garages, overcrowding issues, there’s just a lot of things that are going on day to day that a lot of us don’t pay attention to until it spills out into the streets,” Matt Huerta, Executive Director of NHSSV, told KCBS.
Huerta said that despite deplorable conditions, many tenants are afraid to complain.
“Complaining is really not an option if you don’t have access to even this housing—the terrible housing some folks are in—its’ that or the street,” he said.
In addition to the relaunch, the RLEI also announced a $250,000 grant from Citi Community Development that will help go toward the program’s expansion.