By Devin Fehely

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) — A rent control fight heating up in Mountain View between property owners and housing advocates could extend into 2020.

The battle over rent control has become so charged and so contentious, it has garnered its own colorful but telling nickname.

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“We named it ‘The Sneaky Repeal,’ said Mountain View Tenants’ Coalition spokesperson Maria Marroquin.

Marroquin calls it that because she says signature gatherers have used what she describes as underhanded and at times downright dishonest tactics to get people to sign.

“When they request a signature, they ask, ‘Are you a Mountain View voter? Yes? Would you like to support rent control in Mountain View?’ Often, the person will say, ‘But we have rent control,’ explained Marroquin. “And they’ll answer that this is an improvement. That is a lie.”

In 2016, Mountain View voters approved Measure V. It provided just-cause eviction protection and capped annual rent increases in properties built before 1995 at five percent a year.

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Predictably, some property owners were not pleased.

“Basically, you’re creating a time bomb for creating slums in Mountain View. And that’s one of the major concerns with rent control in itself,” said property owner Carlos Padilla.

Padilla, who owns rental properties in San Jose and Mountain View, says rent control ignores a basic laws of economics: that his costs for the upkeep and maintenance of his buildings aren’t capped at five percent.

“Rent control is a well-intentioned idea. But some of the unintended consequences are that there’s lost revenue for the city, county and state,” said property owner Eric Fischer-Colbrie.

The campaign to repeal or re-write the city’s rent control rules missed a deadline for the November ballot. They are now setting their sights on 2020. But they deny the charges that they’ve been dishonest with voters.

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“I don’t believe it. I’ve personally met many of the signature gatherers,” said Padilla