San Jose passes rent freeze due to coronavirus

San Jose has temporarily prohibited some of the city’s
landlords from increasing rent on tens of thousands of rental units
and mobile homes for the rest of the year.

The San Jose City Council voted 9-2 on Tuesday night to freeze
rents on about 39,000 apartments and more than 10,000
rent-controlled mobile homes that fall under the city’s rent
stabilization program until Dec. 31. Councilmembers Sylvia Arenas
and Maya Esparza dissented.

The city joins just a handful of California cities, including
Oakland and Los Angeles, that have already instituted similar
measures to help tenants amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19
pandemic.

“During this time we have to take certainty whenever we get it
and we have to make certainty for our residents wherever we can,”
Councilmember Dev Davis said during the council meeting.

For San Jose residents like Adelita Gomez who are struggling
financially due to the current pandemic, the new tenant protection
means one less added expense that they have to worry about.

Gomez, who lives with her husband and two children in a
rent-controlled unit, lost her job late last month when her company
conducted a round of layoffs fueled by COVID-19 fears. She recently
received notice that her landlord intended to increase rent on June
1.

“With the financial instability that my family has already
found ourselves in, to know that there’s going to be an added
cost every month is very concerning,” she said.

The ordinance covers residents who were facing a rent increase
in May or the coming months, but the councilmembers opted not to
make the ordinance retroactive and make landlords who increased
rents for April revert the rents back to their previous costs.

Councilmember Pam Foley said that making the ordinance
retroactive “appeared to be illegal” even though the city
attorney indicated it could be justified.

The city’s apartment rent ordinance typically allows owners of
apartment buildings with three or more units that were built on or
before September 1979 to increase rents by up to 5% every year.
Owners of mobile home parks that were built on or before September
1979 are typically allowed to raise fees by up to 75% of the change
in the region’s consumer price index — with a maximum increase
of 7% — every year.

Single-family home rentals and most newer apartments are not
subject to rent control under state law and therefore will not be
covered by the newly proposed emergency ordinance.

The new protection for tenants has irked some small ‘mom and
pop’ landlords who say they need that income to pay their
bills.

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Roberta Moore, who owns a fourplex rental in San Jose, said she
agrees with the city’s objectives of preventing more homelessness
and relieving additional burdens on tenants but doesn’t feel the
city is looking out for people like her in the same way.

“What I have a problem with is making mom and pops take on the
burden of providing loans and paying for it,” she said.

This is just one of a handful of efforts the city has made to
aid tenants since the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly two months
ago.

In addition to the freeze on rent increases, the city has
adopted a temporary ban on residential and commercial evictions
andimplemented a temporary paid sick leave policy that guarantees
any essential employee in the city will be paid if they are
affected by the growing coronavirus crisis and unable to work.

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
San Jose passes rent freeze due to coronavirus