News

Measure H, East Palo Alto rent ordinance, passes

Measure passes by wide margin, according to San Mateo County Registrar

East Palo Alto's rent stabilization and eviction ordinance, Measure H, was approved in Tuesday's election by a wide margin, according to the San Mateo County Registrar.

The Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance passed with 78.41 percent of the votes, according to unofficial election results.

The measure's passage repeals the city's prior rent-stabilization ordinance, which was challenged in court by Palo Alto developer Page Mill Properties, previous owner of 1,800 rental units in the city. Measure H addresses a major dispute that was the basis for the Page Mill lawsuit.

City law allowed for regulated annual rental increases. But Page Mill applied several years worth of annual allowances that had not been passed on to tenants all at one time.

Renters were forced to suddenly pay as much as four to five times their rent or face eviction, City Councilman Ruben Abrica said.

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"Part of it was the way the law was written. The new law makes it very clear," he said.

The law gives landlords a fair return on their investments, he said. Landlords can increase rent once per year and can pass the costs of justifiable capital improvements on to tenants.

"The annual increase can be 75 percent of the Consumer Price Index. However, if landlords want, they can bank it and take the increase later on within three years and it can't be more than 10 percent," Abrica said.

Fifty percent of East Palo Alto's residents are renters. The revised law protects the city's most vulnerable population, many of whom work low-paying menial jobs for people in Palo Alto, he said.

Tenants are protected from arbitrary evictions, although they can still be evicted for nonpayment of rent or numerous noise complaints -- just causes, he said.

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"In most cities a landlord only has to give a tenant 30 to 60 days' notice," he said.

The new law continues a tradition in East Palo Alto, Abrica said.

"We have had a rent-stabilization law from the very beginning when the city incorporated. It was challenged by landlords and went before the voters in 1984," he said.

The law also protects residents from harassment, retaliatory evictions and rent increases, Abrica said.

"There is something new that unfortunately came out of Page Mill. The law is now stronger in terms of protecting tenants from harassment if they bring issues to the fore. There are more penalties for harassment," he said.

Page Mill defaulted on its loan for the properties, failing to make a $50 million payment. All 1,800 properties were foreclosed on and reverted back to Wells Fargo Bank on March 2. A bank auction of the properties that day attracted no bidders.

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Measure H, East Palo Alto rent ordinance, passes

Measure passes by wide margin, according to San Mateo County Registrar

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 9, 2010, 9:23 am
Updated: Wed, Jun 9, 2010, 11:51 am

East Palo Alto's rent stabilization and eviction ordinance, Measure H, was approved in Tuesday's election by a wide margin, according to the San Mateo County Registrar.

The Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance passed with 78.41 percent of the votes, according to unofficial election results.

The measure's passage repeals the city's prior rent-stabilization ordinance, which was challenged in court by Palo Alto developer Page Mill Properties, previous owner of 1,800 rental units in the city. Measure H addresses a major dispute that was the basis for the Page Mill lawsuit.

City law allowed for regulated annual rental increases. But Page Mill applied several years worth of annual allowances that had not been passed on to tenants all at one time.

Renters were forced to suddenly pay as much as four to five times their rent or face eviction, City Councilman Ruben Abrica said.

"Part of it was the way the law was written. The new law makes it very clear," he said.

The law gives landlords a fair return on their investments, he said. Landlords can increase rent once per year and can pass the costs of justifiable capital improvements on to tenants.

"The annual increase can be 75 percent of the Consumer Price Index. However, if landlords want, they can bank it and take the increase later on within three years and it can't be more than 10 percent," Abrica said.

Fifty percent of East Palo Alto's residents are renters. The revised law protects the city's most vulnerable population, many of whom work low-paying menial jobs for people in Palo Alto, he said.

Tenants are protected from arbitrary evictions, although they can still be evicted for nonpayment of rent or numerous noise complaints -- just causes, he said.

"In most cities a landlord only has to give a tenant 30 to 60 days' notice," he said.

The new law continues a tradition in East Palo Alto, Abrica said.

"We have had a rent-stabilization law from the very beginning when the city incorporated. It was challenged by landlords and went before the voters in 1984," he said.

The law also protects residents from harassment, retaliatory evictions and rent increases, Abrica said.

"There is something new that unfortunately came out of Page Mill. The law is now stronger in terms of protecting tenants from harassment if they bring issues to the fore. There are more penalties for harassment," he said.

Page Mill defaulted on its loan for the properties, failing to make a $50 million payment. All 1,800 properties were foreclosed on and reverted back to Wells Fargo Bank on March 2. A bank auction of the properties that day attracted no bidders.

Comments

Chris Lund
another community
on Jun 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm
Chris Lund, another community
on Jun 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm
Like this comment

Please visit www.epa-tenants.org for more information on the new Rent Stabilization Ordinance and Page Mill Properties.


Jim
Midtown
on Jun 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm
Jim, Midtown
on Jun 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm
Like this comment

"A bank auction of the properties that day attracted no bidders."

"The annual increase can be 75 percent of the Consumer Price Index"

Why would any investor want to own apartments in EPA?


Sekou Black
East Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm
Sekou Black, East Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm
Like this comment

@ Jim:
Because even though the property values have fluctuated over the last decade, when the crime goes down, property values rise like steam.


Hmmm
East Palo Alto
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Like this comment

@ Jim - it's also an affordable place to be a landlord. If you go into it informed, you can get a decent ROI. The RSO is very fair to landlord of the mom & pop type who want to improve their investments. Landlords can partner w/the Rent Stabilization Board & the City & find good tenants.


Jim
Midtown
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Jim, Midtown
on Jun 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Like this comment

@Sekou and Hmmm

"Experts in the area predict that the likelihood of an individual or company purchasing the entire portfolio is very low (thanks to local rent control standards, among other issues), even considering the accessibility and central location of the Page Mill Properties"

Web Link

Nobody with an investment brain wants to own in EPA. What good is it that property values go up (in theory), if an investor cannot turn it into a profit? If the property is tied up in rent control (confiscation) issues, why own it in the first place?

Has Wells Fargo found a buyer yet? Wells Fargo inherited this turkey from Wachovia, and it wants nothing to do with it...can't even give it away. The bank should just give it all to the rent control board, as a gift (and take a tax write off), and wish them well in their new business venture.

Simply put, there is no ROI in EPA, so why bother investing in the first place?


Hmmm
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Mar 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm
Hmmm, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Mar 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm
Like this comment

Hah! Rereading this old thread, looks like Jimbo sure was wrong!


musical
Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:56 am
musical, Palo Verde
on Mar 20, 2014 at 12:56 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Name hidden
Nixon School

on Jun 6, 2017 at 1:30 am
Name hidden, Nixon School

on Jun 6, 2017 at 1:30 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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