San Jose: Leaders reject proposal to tie rent increases in certain units to inflation


Sandra Robles is a renter advocating for stronger protections at a San Jose City  Council meeting on Tuesday.

SAN JOSE — Sandra Robles clutched a sign with the words “Housing Justice is Racial Injustice” as she waited to speak out against rent hikes that could force her out of San Jose. A row away from her, Tom Fleissner, a longtime property owner, told city lawmakers that they’re treating landlords like they’re “evil.”

The stark divide between renters and landlords in San Jose grew larger Tuesday. For the second time in the past year, city leaders rejected a proposal to tie rent increases in about 45,000 apartments to inflation — which advocates argued would give struggling renters a break in Silicon Valley’s exorbitant rental market.

Currently, San Jose caps rent increases in those units to no more than 5 percent per year. The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-5 to maintain that cap and rejected an idea from Councilman Don Rocha to explore adding 11,000 duplexes to the city’s rent control law. The dissenters were Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco, council members Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez, Sylvia Arenas and Rocha.

Renters like Robles said a decade of rent increases have forced her to consider fleeing to Modesto or Stockton. The 36-year-old cafeteria worker pays $2,600 for a two-bedroom apartment in San Jose — but she’s a single mom and her wages have remained stagnant.

Sandra Robles is a renter advocating for stronger protections at a San Jose City Council meeting on Tuesday.

“All my family lives in Mexico City and I’m divorced,” Robles said. “It’s hard for me. It’s so expensive to live here, and I feel like the landlords are being greedy.”

Fleissner, on the other hand, said San Jose’s stringent rent controls are forcing him out of business. He’s owned six rent-controlled units near downtown since 1989 — but it’s getting harder to survive here.

“You’re going to get rid of us sooner or …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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