Gene Santomartino 
Member since Mar 4, 2016

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Rent Control Consulting Services

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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Tenant Advocates File Ballot Initiative to Strengthen Rent Control and Eviction Protections

Robert… so my question is “Why are landlords ok with only being able to take the CPI increase each year?” Couldn’t they get larger increases than CPI? The answer is “yes”… Isn’t that the same argument that the landlord IS subsidizing the current tenant? So the real question is “To what degree is a jurisdiction going to implement rent control?” Also in DC landlords get favorable tax assessments due to the depressed rents to offset some of their loss.

My study of the Oakland reporting requirements does not go into detail of a full rent history for each unit but I have not looked at Oakland’s law in a few years so I may need to take another look.

I am not following you on how DC’s limiting increases on turnover would reduce the supply. The unit turned over and is now available to rent. Under DC’s law it’s available to lower income tenants because its still affordable but under the current California law it’s only affordable to high income tenants due to the extremely high rents in San Francisco for example.

The laws that DC has enforced has nothing to do with supply and demand. There has always been a huge demand to live in a city like Washington or San Francisco. DC has kept a pool of rental units available so that lower income residents have a chance to live in the city. Sometimes these units aren’t occupied by lower income tenants and that is the problem DC is facing. There needs to be some means testing so that lower income tenants actually get those more affordable units. I would also propose that for CA as well.

Posted by Gene Santomartino on 03/06/2016 at 4:47 AM

Re: “Oakland Tenant Advocates File Ballot Initiative to Strengthen Rent Control and Eviction Protections

California’s rent control laws have been flawed since inception. What good is having rent control when upon vacancy a unit is able to go to market rent? That is what I call rent decontrol! How long will it be before all units are at or near market? Rent control should keep rents affordable even on turnover to keep a pool of units available for lower income tenants. The #1 priority for tenant advocacy groups would be to fix this problem! Next, what good is having rent control when the landlord doesn’t have to file any paperwork to report their rents? It’s up to the tenant to police their rent increases and have to file a petition with the rent board to uncover past rent history. The past rent history should be filed with the city and make it public record.

Out of all of the cities in California East Palo Alto comes the closest to the best rent control system in the country, which is The District of Columbia. In Washington DC landlords have to report rents to the city within 30 days of the change, they have a maximum amount a unit can be raised upon turnover that will never exceed 30% which keeps a pool of truly rent controlled affordable units. East Palo Alto doesn’t cap. rent increases on turnover but they do require landlords to file the paperwork to be stored in a historical database for future reference. DC also requires landlords to disclose the units past rent history to tenants and to educate tenants on the rent control laws upon move in. DC also protects Elderly and Disabled tenants by lowering their maximum annual increase to 2% less than what a “General” tenant would be increased by.

There are only about 5 states in the country that have rent control protections. California rent control (statewide) is the biggest “smoke and mirrors” scam in the US. Until California implements a real rent control law that does what it is supposed to do, i.e. “keep an affordable rental housing stock available to tenants of lower incomes” you may as well abolish the law altogether… You’re just dragging out inevitable… A gentrified community where only the rich can afford to live!

Posted by Gene Santomartino on 03/04/2016 at 1:53 PM

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