News: Tri-County

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The San Jose City Council on Tuesday approved guidelines for property owners to phase out the use of ratio-utility billing systems, also known as RUBS, to charge tenants for utilities. The council greenlighted the phase-out process one month after voting to ban the use of RUBS in the city’s rent controlled housing, defined as buildings constructed before 1979 with three units or more. Some property owners use RUBS to divide utility bills among tenants based on the number of renters in the building or square footage.

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Rent control activists in the city of Santa Cruz filed signatures in hopes of qualifying a rent control measure for the November ballot. The Movement for Housing Justice submitted over 10,000 signatures, significantly more than the 5,600 required to qualify the measure. The Santa Cruz County Registrar of Voters will now count and check the validity of the signatures, a process that the California Apartment Association will monitor closely.

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After hours of public testimony and debate, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday voted to eliminate RUBS in rent-controlled housing. RUBS is short for ratio-utility-billing systems, which some property owners use to divide utility bills among tenants based on the number of renters in the building or square footage. At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also approved changes to the city’s “just cause” eviction ordinance and an ordinance related to the Ellis Act. The council is expected to formally approve the changes with a another reading of the ordinances May 8.

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A proposal going before the Redwood City Council on Monday would guarantee that tenants of multifamily housing be offered leases of at least one year. Under a related proposal, rental property owners would need to off relocation assistance to tenants when certain conditions are met. The California Apartment Association generally supports the concept of these two policies, as they provide predictability and stability for housing providers and residents, without imposing overly burdensome regulations.

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The city of San Jose has given residential landlords more time to register their properties with the city and to pay the related business tax, a move applauded by the California Apartment Association. The new deadline for residential rental property owners is June 30, 2018. After that date, interest and late fees will apply. Businesses can register with the city here.

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San Mateo County supervisors Tuesday adopted an ordinance aimed at tackling substandard housing in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance makes permanent a one-year pilot program adopted by the Board of Supervisors last spring. That program required landlords to pay relocation assistance to tenants forced to vacate substandard housing units.

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Over the objections of CAA and its members, the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday imposed interim emergency rent control and just-cause eviction ordinances, effective immediately. Although most attendees objected during public testimony, the council voted to instate a temporary 2 percent cap on rent increases for all apartment buildings built before 1995, with exemptions for condos, townhouses and single-family homes. The council also approved a temporary just-cause ordinance that applies to all housing, including single-family homes and accessory-dwelling units. The only exemption to the just-cause ordinance is for those who own only one rental unit. Landlords with maintenance costs… Read More

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Repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act — and bringing extreme forms of rent control back to California — is no longer a legislative priority for the San Jose City Council. On a 9-2 vote Tuesday, the council removed overturning Costa-Hawkins from its legislative to-do list. That decision came after this year’s legislative effort to repeal Costa-Hawkins — Assembly Bill 1506 – died Jan. 11 during its first committee hearing. It was the second straight year that AB 1506 fizzled amid fierce opposition from the California Apartment Association and its allies.

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Rent control activists in the city of Santa Cruz have filed paperwork to place a rent control measure before voters in the November election. Rent control proponents filed their initiative with the Santa Cruz city clerk on Friday, Jan. 19, beginning the process of qualifying the measure.  Within 15 days, the city attorney is expected to review the measure and issue an impartial summary and analysis.

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Members of the California Apartment Association on Tuesday urged the Santa Cruz City Council to steer clear of rent control in its efforts to address the city’s housing crisis. Rent control was among numerous policy options presented to the council in a staff report called “Santa Cruz Voices on Housing: Fall 2017 Community Engagement Report.”

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