By the Numbers: 5%
South Bay renters won two important battles in the span of a week—one in San Jose and the other for unincorporated Santa Clara County. The first victory came during San Jose’s Jan. 31 City Council meeting, where a 7-4 vote reinforced a 5 percent annual rent cap by eliminating a loophole used by landlords. When the council first approved the 5-percent ceiling last year, the policy allowed landlords who decided not to raise the rent in a given year to bank those rent hikes for a later date. As of last week, though, that option is off the table. The second major change in local rent laws happened just this Tuesday, after a litany of low-income renters and allies provided impassioned testimony to the county Board of Supervisors. In a 4-1 vote, supes made it illegal for landlords to refuse tenants who rely on subsidized housing vouchers. “Homeless people have been asking for an end to this discrimination for years, especially after the recent rental housing crisis made it literally impossible for many of them to find landlords willing to rent to them,” said Sandy Perry, head of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County, a grassroots advocacy group. According to the local Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara, at least 826 households and 217 veterans have housing vouchers but can’t find a landlord willing to rent to them.