Landlord Group Sues To Stop New Mountain View Rent Control Law

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — A group of landlords in Mountain View is making one final push to stop a new rent control law from taking effect Friday.

Mountain View voters approved Measure V by 53.4 percent, but the rent control ordinance is being challenged and could be stopped.

While the charter amendment is set to take effect December 23, the California Apartment Association or CAA filed a lawsuit challenging the new law.

The organization is going to court to get a temporary restraining order.

The measure limits the annual rent increases to consumer price index percentages which is two to five percent and prohibits evictions without just cause for multi-family rental units built before February 1, 1995.

The lawsuit also claims a city ordinance preventing possible evictions and rolling back rents to October 2015 levels will reduce the amount of rent landlords can possibly get in the future.

The CAA says the measure deprives property owners of a fair rate of return for their properties.

The group also argues the eviction protections within the rent control measure transfer property rights from the owners to the renters, which can result in the loss of substantial money according to the President of the Small Property Owners Group of San Francisco, Noni Richen.

“There was a building up the street that’s now TICs, a six-unit building,” said Richen. “But unfortunately, the owner had kept it vacant for 10 years waiting to get all the financing and legal things in line because he knew if he let people live in there he wouldn’t be able to get them out when he was ready to remodel the building.”

A letter the CAA sent to local property owners said there are 10 potential legal grounds to battle the rent control ordinance.

Six out of seven Mountain View City Council members opposed the measure during the November election and instead supported a milder alternative.

Mountain View is not obligated to defend Measure V. City leaders must decide in a closed session vote whether to defend the law or not.

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