South Bay Renters Scored Two Major Victories this Past Week

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.

9 Comments

  1. We were renting to Section 8 participants willingly, however, my issues is with the county, as a partner I would have expected more responsible interaction and communication, the county changed the funding to the residents half way through the contract, so the residents experienced a large increase in their share of rent amount, the residents could not keep up, rent was in the arrears, so we went to the county for assistance in evicting …nothing…not there problem…on another issue, the county did not respond to our notification that additional people not listed on the contract were in the home, nothing….then I asked them to a least put something on their record so the next landlord would not have these issues… NOTHING…they left unpaid rent, including expenses to evict, and a home in a disastrous condition…..So, we (in my case) are not discriminating against the tenants, I am discriminating about working with an agency that did not respond to its customers (Landlords), did not appropriately screen participants to see if they still qualify, did not appropriately follow up with contract violations, and did not respond in a timely if ever manner to their contract partners.

    • Your distinction between the tenant class and the agency’s irresponsible conduct seems like sufficient grounds to get the new law overturned, as it appears the county has, through its record of neglect, deprived you and other landlords of the customary financial and managerial protections.

  2. That does it for me we are not renting out the two houses we now control, no sir, going to sell for top dollar.
    Put the section 8 housing around city hall and the county center.

  3. You would be much more informative if you indicated the limitations on these major victories, e.g, the Section 8 rule is limited to only homes in the unincorporated areas of the county… and that’s very few.

  4. > In a 4-1 vote, supes made it illegal for landlords to refuse tenants who rely on subsidized housing vouchers.

    QUESTION:

    Does the gubbermint also limit the amount of the security deposit that landlords can require from tenants that the gubbermint forces on landlords.

    My experience is that, even reasonable tenants are astonished at how much charges for “normal wear and tear” can consume their security deposit. Tenants typically expect that a rental unit be in PERFECT condition when the move in, but that “good enough” is acceptable when the move out.

    For marginal, bottom of the underclass tenants, NO amount of security deposit is going to cover the ruination they cause.

    • Pretty sure it is state law, you cannot charge for normal wear and tear. You should be careful. As a landlord, I don’t think you should anyway.

      On the other hand, I will not give up my right to rent to the best, most financially secure applicants. Period. Section 8’s can apply all day, I am still allowed to choose the best. applicant.

  5. This article is incorrect. It states “South Bay renters won two important battles in the span of a week—one in San Jose and the other for all of Santa Clara County.” That’s Wrong! It ONLY applies to the UNINCORPORATED PORTIONS OF THE COUNTY

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