Some San José official push to increase rent control

FOX 2 KTVU May 12, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) -- Officials in the South Bay are getting ready to launch an effort to expand rent control in the city of San José Tuesday in response to new numbers that show the average rent in the city jumped over 10 percent in the past year.

When Chrystal Caruthers moved to Silicon Valley from Chicago last year, the former realtor says she had no idea how hard it would be to find an affordable place to rent.

"It's pretty much the worst experience ever, because you don't get a lot for your money," said Caruthers.

The 45-year-old is paying $2,200 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment in Sunnyvale and looking to save money by moving to Downtown San José.

Housing officials with the City of San José say the most recent data shows the average rent jumped 11 percent in the past year.

"It's hard to be an adult making what you think is a good living and have to consider getting a roommate," said Caruthers.

An effort is under way to expand rent control in San José.

The city already has a rent-control ordinance, but only for apartments built before 1979.

Under existing rules, landlords for about 43,000 apartments in complexes built before 1979 can't raise rent more than 8 percent a year.

But San José City Council Member Raul Peralez wants to cap rent increases at 4 percent annually.

"I would say it's not necessary," said with California Apartment Association Senior Vice President Joshua Howard.

Howard represents 3,000 property owners in Silicon Valley and opposes the move.

"Rent control will not bring the cost of housing down. All it will do is create more competition for housing because individuals may stay in units longer," said Howard.

According to RealFacts, the average price for a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment on the market now in San Jose is $2,601 a month, up from $2,155 in 2013.

San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, along with four council members, is proposing several affordable housing measures which would also review the rent control options.

Mayor Liccardo says state laws prohibit rent control on newer apartments which is why he thinks affordable housing projects such as the one on 4th Street at St. John are so important, along with high-density workforce housing.

"We know if we can build very high-density on transit corridors and future transit stops, like we have with BART coming into San José. We know we can make living here much more affordable," said Liccardo.

On Wednesday, the San José Rules Committee is expected to forward the proposal to the full City Council for discussion in a few weeks.