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Menlo Park considers policy to help displaced renters

Original post made on Feb 11, 2019

Following months of discussion by the public and the Menlo Park Housing Commission, the City Council has scheduled a study session about a potential tenant relocation assistance ordinance in Menlo Park for Tuesday, Feb. 12.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 11, 2019, 11:57 AM

Comments (25)

33 people like this
Posted by Rent Control
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

This is rent control, no other way to describe it. The council created this mess by approving major expansion of Facebook offices and the new offices in Bohannon Park. Stop saying yes to FB, do not approve any further office expansion beyond current square footage footprint. In other words, only allow remodeling of EXISTING square footage. Put FB on notice that current plans for expansion are on hold until further notice. Own it City Council and do not put it on the backs of land owners. Approve more high density housing not high density offices.

22 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

Certainly, this is a bad idea. Exactly how bad is hard to assess because the article does not say what the amount of the so-called assistance is.

7 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2019 at 12:42 pm

LOL, this is NOT rent control. It's not even rent stabilization. It's merely relocation assistance, which doesn't even mean it WILL prevent homelessness, but merely MIGHT. Menlo Park has historically never cared about renters. This is a chance to change that, in the most minimal way. Please do so.

12 people like this
Posted by Red Tape at its finest
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 11, 2019 at 2:19 pm

So how often will the landlords ask for verification of income? Will that be part of the lease? Very invasive. MP don't be the place that jumps to instituting rules before you think about how they will be applied! You've collected so much money from developers and the like that has just diminished in value over the years before getting into the hands of those in need...Can't you just require a longer lead time on the increases, so people can figure out their next step? If they are so close to the line that they are in dire straights financially, perhaps the city low income fee collection coffers can be put into helping hands and get distributed.

21 people like this
Posted by Audrey Medina
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 11, 2019 at 3:09 pm

It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. It's a duck. It is rent control and no cause eviction of the worst sort. What will that get us ? Much less housing and higher rents.

There are 5,420 tenant occupied units in Menlo Park. 70 % of those are owned by small mom and pops. Why would anyone want to stay in the rental business with such high risk terms ? No way. buh bye mom and pop rentals.

The city council should work on preserving our limited housing, not pushing housing providers with over-the-top punitive penalties. Really ? $ 20.000 - $ 30,000 cash payments up front ? If this passes, I am going to rent another apartment just so I can object to a rent increase and collect. Pay dirt !

22 people like this
Posted by Downtown MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2019 at 4:17 pm

This will sink property values in a second. No one wants people displaced but what this is does is gives zero rights to property owners. What is the point of owning anything with these restrictions? Menlo Park council has so many problems they need to deal with and it is crazy to me that this is what they are looking into.
We have a horrible downtown, no parking, and no leadership.
If this passes watch the market die in one second. This is an expensive place to live no doubt. But how can you penalize everyone? This is not great for renters either as there will be less rental units across the board. And please call it what it is RENT CONTROL.

16 people like this
Posted by Chunchi Ma
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2019 at 4:28 pm

What MP is attemping is RC in disguise, albeit a better name than RC. But make no doubt about it, it has the same effect as 5% rent cap on landlords as ill afford the relocation charge, hence effective rent control.

Landlord cause eviction is another code name for Just Cause eviction. Basically it takes the property owner's right in removing bad tenants. With the current legal system, there are plenty of tenant's protection bills as is, there is no need to add another hurdle for the landlords to pass. Most of the eviction cause cost landlords thousands of dollars in legal fee as is, no need to make it nearly impossible for landlords to do their jobs of keeping their properties in good order and provide a safe environment to other tenants and residents.

22 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2019 at 4:46 pm

Rent Control as sneaky as it can get. This is a terrible idea and will end up costing renters more in the long run.

21 people like this
Posted by To-may-to vs To-mah-to
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 11, 2019 at 4:47 pm

This topic is on the front page of today's Daily Post. The headline says "rent caps." Isn't any cap of rents considered rent control? So yes, the Menlo Park proposal is rent control. I am shocked our city is even entertaining this. Our apartments are mostly 4-plexes, maybe some 10 unit buildings. Aren't those typically owned by family members who invest in residential buildings? We have a good rental community in Menlo Park. The landlords are good people who typically get along with their renters. It's a shame we have this group forcing this on our community, creating tension and division in a relatively quiet town. We don't need this type of politics. Menlo Park is not San Francisco, Oakland, or Berkeley.

15 people like this
Posted by Been There
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2019 at 6:28 pm

This shortsighted concept will do more damage than good.
A bad idea.
All arguments against are valid.

16 people like this
Posted by Mom and Pop Apt Owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 11, 2019 at 7:10 pm

This is a very unfortunate and unfair proposal for any one of us (Mom and Pop) that own these apartment buildings. This would be the same issue as someone who wants to buy a Mercedes on a VW budget! Would the city require the Mercedes dealer to take the price affordable by the VW buyer? Menlo Park needs to put their energy to better use and find a proper solution to homelessness and lower income housing by building units to house this population. Thats the job of the City - take care of the people who live here. Not punish the ones who have built Menlo Park into a great community and great place to live!!!

11 people like this
Posted by Should I Sell Now?
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Plain and simple, this is rent control. I own a rental in MP. This rental helps subsidize my income. Every year, my property taxes go up. My rents have stayed somewhat stable over the last four years with almost zero increase. If you hamper my ability to to maximize my investment, I will pull up stakes and sell my home. Then, you will have one less rental to worry about.
In the end, rent control will erode property value, lower the tax base and decrease the number of rentals available to those who wish to rent.
If you don't believe me about value, just ask the homeowners who own the townhomes behind the gates in Sharon Heights. Some mental giant in charge of the HOA thought it would be a good idea to limit the ability of homeowners to rent. The HOA passed a bylaw and now investors won't touch those units. On average those units sell a minimum 25% percent less than condo/townhomes in Sharon Heights without rent control. Wake up!

11 people like this
Posted by Missed opportunity
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm

All these talks about rent control is hindering the ability to actually have a reasonable discussion on what to do when long time renters find themselves in a housing crunch. This is another proof that nothing good happens when rent control is in the picture. A better solution is for the city to stop talking about rent control and focus on a plan to provide a safety net for those unfortunate instances that people are suddenly without a home. Landlords should be a part of that discussion. Alienating and villying them will just add fuel to the fire. Get smarter people!

15 people like this
Posted by Call it what you wish
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2019 at 6:56 am

I agree with several of the comments in the fact this is RENT CONTROL. It is not fair for the city to control our rental properties rents as the city does NOT pay for any of our: Property taxes - which increase every year, repairs, improvements, damages by tenants, late payments, etc.... Stop wasting all our time on considering and discussing rent control and focus on actual solutions for ones who find themselves displaced. You will soon find everyone selling their units in order to avoid your foolish laws and the home values of Menlo Park will begin to fall. You will essentially drive all of us who have brought value to the city, out and will be left with ones who don't have the same interest in beautifying and keeping the city a great place to live because the cost of owning units will not be worth it. It'll cost owners more than the income they receive to maintain properties and values will begin to plummet. That is a serious problem for the Menlo Park community.

16 people like this
Posted by Apartment Owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2019 at 7:29 am

If this ordinance passes you will soon find many buildings on the market. It'll be far too costly for someone to own a building for rental property and not be allowed to charge rents based on fair market value - which is how we all price our units. We will all begin to sell and new owners won't be able to afford the same upkeep we all provide as the rents won't cover such expenses. Better think long and hard and consider all the affects of such an ordinance before making it policy.

10 people like this
Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 12, 2019 at 8:03 am

Honestly, this is a backdoor rent control measure. Other towns have tried this. Santa Cruz put it on the ballot last election which did not pass, but the run up to it caused many "mom and pop" landlords to sell their properties. I am not sure which side of this I am on. I am against rent control, but I am also for ownership over renters. If this passes, hopefully the old rental properties will sell out, get torn down for houses. Less renters = less people voting for additional property tax assessments. Less crowded schools and parks.

10 people like this
Posted by John Hall
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Feb 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

We see the proposed policy acts backwards; it does not promote the future economic prospect in Menlo Park City, but it just intends to depress the real estate development in the local community. A move that is not smart.

3 people like this
Posted by MP resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 12, 2019 at 11:29 am

No one wants to see anyone forced into homelessness. The IDEA of Tenant Relocation Assistance is good. This proposal is BAD! It is punitive to small property owners and goes far beyond helping those in real need. It is too complicated and sets up the city for legal challenges galore.

4 people like this
Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 12, 2019 at 1:15 pm

As I read the dialogues on ‘tenant relocation assistance’ I surprise myself in that I conclude that this is a lousy idea.

Don't confuse rent control with other behavioral incentives. I grew up in a rent controlled building ~ 90 units in under 2 acres- and no parking. No big deal in the right city. AN this building is still rent controlled as opposed to having been converted to a coop.

About 10 years ago much ink was spilt on a enacting a granny unit ordinance (although this was mandated by the state). The idea was to encourage homeowners to include a granny unit. I suspect that the proposed relocation assistance ordinance will have among its unintended consequences the effect of taking granny units out of our housing inventory.

I would also be aware of potential conflicts of interests of participants who may have investments in housing partnerships.

3 people like this
Posted by duane delagnes
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 12, 2019 at 7:20 pm

this is a blatant attempt to not only at rent control, but to force the mass sale of property to collect taxes. shame on you!
1) who of these voters have skin in the game?
2) how much of your money do you have invested in Menlo Park?
this is a bad idea from inception!

3 people like this
Posted by Landlord
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Feb 12, 2019 at 11:27 pm

This is the price of liberalism. Don't build housing, and act shocked that the rents and prices increase. Add taxes and restrictions and fees, and moan about the high cost of housing.

The liberal solution? Take away property owners rights, and impost price controls. How quick we forget what the Soviets beget.

Check it out: Liberalism and Housing Prices

Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by Ana
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Feb 17, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Lol the owners of Anton Menlo are fighting this because they are actively displacing their BMR residents with twice yearly price hikes upwards of 10% in many cases. They're trying to actively circumvent the 12 month lease ordinance and probably their own regulatory agreement with the city by putting wording into their leases that allow for rent increases at any time and trying to force residents into month to month leases by refusing to provide 12 month leases by the time their current ones are up. Now they're acting like spoiled brats when these residents looked into the issue and saw they should be getting relocation assistance for being forced out of their homes and are trying to grandstand and pay for PR like they're helping the mom and pop rentals in MP by stopping a backdoor rent control ordinance when they will surely swoop in and gobble those properties up to build another hideous overpriced eyesore that will be 50% AirBnB's like they are now.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Boomer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Feb 25, 2019 at 9:26 pm

I am aghast at how these ~all-powerful renters~ are trying to take advantage of our ~poor, noble housing providers~. I can only hope that Cat and Drew stay strong and that Ray joins them in opposing this injustice! If I know Ray, he'll do the right amount of "I support renters, BUT <statement that completely negates previous clause>". No need to go right out and say, "In this time of extreme housing crisis, I STAND WITH THE LANDLORDS" - just say that "more study" is needed! That'll give you cover to perpetuate the status quo!

4 people like this
Posted by Ray Mueller
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Feb 25, 2019 at 9:52 pm

Thank you for the kindness Menlo Boomer.
Always enjoy reading the Almanac Town Forum.

If you ever want to grab coffee, feel free to reach out. You don’t have to tell me you are the person writing comments like this on the Town Square.

I probably won’t come back to this article again, so no need for you to go further writing into full attack mode. But nonetheless, thought I would make the suggestion.


Like this comment
Posted by small time landlord
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 26, 2019 at 6:07 am

small time landlord is a registered user.

if I sell my rental house can I evict my tenant without any fees, penalties etc?

They are mo. to mo. and I realize I need to give 60 days notice

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