News

Apartment company plans to sue East Palo Alto

Page Mill Properties, which owns more than 1,600 apartments in East Palo Alto, will sue the city for passing an urgency ordinance Tuesday night that prohibits rent increases greater than 3.2 percent for the next six months, according to a company spokesman.

The moratorium on rent increases is illegal, according to Chris Giffith, an attorney for Page Mill Properties.

The city considered the rent moratorium because hundreds of East Palo Alto tenants received rent increases that exceed the currently allowed 3.2 percent, with many increases 15 percent or greater.

A company spokesman, Lance Ignon, also noted, however, that several hundred Page Mill Properties tenants did not receive any rent increase.

"By refusing Page Mill Properties' repeated offers to pursue negotiations and reach common ground, Page Mill Properties has no alternative but to seek legal action," Ignon said.

Both the company and city fully expected to end in court. Each had its own court reporter at the last two City Council meetings, recording every word spoken about the proposed rent moratorium.

The council failed to muster the necessary four votes to enact the moratorium last week as urgency item, with Councilman David Woods absent and Councilman Peter Evans abstaining.

But Woods voted for the moratorium Tuesday night and Evans, surprisingly, also supported it after criticizing it last week.

The way the city enforces its rent stabilization ordinance does not conform to state law, Griffith contends, an allegation that lawyers for the city strongly dispute.

Page Mill may also challenge Tuesday night's vote on the grounds that it was not properly noticed under the state open-meeting law, which requires 72-hour advance notice of agenda items. The City Council agenda had the rent moratorium on its agenda Tuesday night, but as a regular ordinance to go into effect 30 days later, not as an urgency ordinance.

The City Council enacted the rent moratorium as an urgency ordinance so it can go into effect immediately, before the scheduled Feb. 1 rent increases for Page Mill tenants go into effect.

Related stories:

EPA council reverses itself on rent moratorium

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Howard
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm

I hope they get punitive damages and bankrupt the city. The arrogant Poeples Republic mentality of city goverments must be stopped.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wondering
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Does anyone have ideas for how individuals can help/support these tenants if they can't afford the new rent and in the meantime while they are under stress? (This question is not meant as a comment on the rightness or wrongness of the corporation's or city's actions...)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2008 at 1:55 am

See my earlier comment, that a 10% vacancy rate is the best, and the ONLY EFFECTIVE rent control. Remove obstructions to the construction of minimum solution homes. Stop harassing mobile home courts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by yup
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm

saw this coming


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EPA
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Forthwith, someone needs to find out who the *principals* are in Page Mill Properties, and publish their names and addresses to the net, along with some stories about the abuse they are visiting on renters, the poor condition of their buildings, and the insensitivities to real lives that they exhibit in their grab for more more money, and the eventual gentrification of EPA.

In fact, let's start here
Web Link

The names of the PMP management team are:

David A. Taran, CEO

Terry Y. Lee, CFO

James E. Thompson, Director of Development

Jennifer E. Moore, Development Officer

THESE are the people who have put the onerous rent increases into play.

THESE are the people who are using leveraged capital to displace hard-working people, who struggle to make ends meet.

Perhaps their homes should be picketed.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by EPA
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Web Link

A look at the Page Mill Properties' website would lead most to think they were anything but slumlords, but in this case, that's exactly what they are. It's pretty transparent to see all the self-congratulatory private equity diligence mumbo-jumbo on their self-serving website contrasted with the real impact that PMP's real actions have on real lives.

I hope PA wins, and that private renters find a way to organize against the abuse and financial hardship that PMP is causing,

Again, I would urge renters to picket the principal's homes. Let their neighbors se what fine, upstanding citizens they are, as they increase their wealth at the expense of those least able to stand up for themselves.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joanna
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 11, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I think faxing the office and sending letters will be better than picketing though. Picketing will get some reaction though!!!! :-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EPA
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm

That's right. Picket! Call the press beforehand. Mail leaflets to their neighbors. Write letters to the editor, in all the newspapers you can find. Name these individuals, and accompany your actions with photos of the shoddy apartments they run; tell stories about the lives of tenants; ask some of the kids to tell what it's like to have to move and change skills. Make the world see the names of those who would take advantage of others, just to add another buck to their already large pile.


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