SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Affordable housing advocates and property owners have attacked a plan the San Jose City Council is considering to spur renovation and new development of rent-controlled properties.
“It doesn’t provide protections. In fact, if you encourage property owners to tear down apartments that’s not protections. That’s losing your home. If you live in that apartment, you’re done for,” said homeless advocate Sandy Perry.
Under the current law, if a rent-controlled property is torn down in order to build new construction the same number of units or half of the new building, whichever is greater, must be affordable.
But developers complain that requirement makes it virtually impossible to secure the financing needed to build. That’s why the city wants to ease the current law.
“We ought to enable those projects to move forward with private financing because we don’t have enough public dollars to finance those projects,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Licarrdo.
The changes being considered by the City Council, however, don’t provide protections for tenants displaced by renovations or teardowns.
“What do you do when you don’t have nowhere to stay? You see people all the time with baskets with no place to live and I wonder how they got like that… and now I’m thinking,” said Terri Wells who lives in subsidized housing.
Some property owners oppose the change, as well, albeit for different reasons. They say the city’s regulations for rent-controlled properties are already too onerous and expensive.
“The lack of housing caused the affordability issue. So, more regulation — whatever it is — is going to hurt goal of more housing,” said Jenny Zhao of the Bay Area Homeowners Network, a loose coalition of smaller property owners.