Tonight at 7:15pm (or so), the Palo Alto City Council will consider a colleagues memo from Councilmembers DuBois, Holman, and Kou to strengthen renter protection for Palo Alto residents. See http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/59776
The Rental Housing Problem
Rental housing cost in Palo Alto and the region has exploded in recent years as the pace of job growth has tripled compared to the rate of housing growth. Housing that is being built is predominantly high-end along with small amounts of subsidized, low-income housing. The needs of moderate-income workers and families have been ignored, undermining our social and economic balance. Vital members of our community, teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, utility workers, shopkeepers, social workers and others are all being driven away.
Although big growth in the tech economy has been a boon to many, it has caused negative disruptions to our region including a huge growth in housing demand that has harmed affordability with many long-term renters being driven out or forced to pay more than they can afford. Since 2011, the average rent in Palo Alto has increased 50% while the county median income has grown at less than1/10 that rate. Palo Alto needs to provide renters with the sort of reasonable protections already provided by Mountain View and San Jose.
By the council acting on this problem through a city ordinance, Palo Alto avoids the likelihood of a more restrictive and less balanced citizen initiative like in Mountain View which cannot not be modified except through a future vote of the electorate.
Renter Protection Goals
- Support retention of a healthy, diverse community and local economy;
- Moderate the rate of rent increases;
- Provide protections from unjust evictions that are fair to both renters and landlords;
- Continue topromote construction of new multi-unit rental developments.
- An annual percentage cap on rent increases for multi-unit residences built before 1995, thereby continuing to encourage new housing construction.
- Protections against tenant terminations without just cause while protecting the fair rights of property owners.
- A city council ordinance rather than a voter initiative that will allow needed adjustments over time.
Here’s what you can do
- Write to the Palo Alto City Council today at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting they support the Colleagues Memo (agenda item 13). Please write in your own words, and you may use the talking points above.
- Come speak to the City Council tonight. Arrive by 7:15pm. Fill out a comment card requesting to speak to agenda item 13. You will have two or maybe three minutes to speak. It is best to prepare your remarks in advance, either word-for-word or in outline or note form. You can make a short statement, simply to say something like, “I support the goals of recommendations of the colleagues memo. Thank you.”