Rent Control Update: Burlingame, San Mateo, Mountain View

At the time our last newsletter was released, residents of San Mateo, Burlingame, and Mountain View were about to cast their vote on rent control measures. Let’s take a look at how each of those measures fared:

67.44% of Burlingame voters said no to rent control in the November election. Measure R would have tied annual rent increases to the consumer price index, but no more than 4% and no less than 1%. The rent control restrictions would apply to only multi-family homes built before Feb. 1, 1995. Also included in the measure was a just cause eviction provision which would have applied to all rentals other than owner occupied duplexes.

60.44% of San Mateo voters rejected Measure Q, which which would have applied the same restrictions on rent increases as Burlingame’s Measure R, and a similar just cause eviction provision. No new construction, single-family homes or owner-occupied duplexes would have been subjected to either rent control or just-cause eviction.

Mountain View’s rent control measure passed with 53.6% of the vote. HOWEVER, city council has since put a temporary hold on the measure after the California Apartment Association challenged its constitutionality. The CAA subsequently filed a preliminary injunction against the measure, which will be heard by a judge March 19th. If the injunction is approved, the measure will not be enforced. If it is not approved, Measure V will take effect, tying annual rent increases to the Consumer Price Index (between 2-5%), and rolling current rents back to what they were October 19, 2015.

Rent control may have failed by a fairly large margin in both Burlingame and San Mateo, but it succeeded in gaining significant grass roots momentum. Should housing issues persist, I would expect the movement to return in force by the next election.

For the sake of full disclosure, we were contributors to the $1 million+ that was spent collectively by SAMCAR and the CAA opposing Measures Q & R leading up to the election. If you follow our newsletter, you’re probably familiar with our stance against rent control by now. But it bears repeating that while we are sensitive to the social issues driving the argument for rent control, we strongly believe it only serves to exacerbate the underlying causes of the housing crisis. For an elaboration on our argument against rent control, read our previous newsletter at:

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