Lack of Leadership at SJ City Council: Rent Control Edition

Much like it’s unimaginative revenue and economic development policies, the San Jose City Council again neglected the middle class by failing to address skyrocketing rents.

There were some positives out of last night’s marathon City Council meeting:

  • the Council lowered the cap on annual rent increases from 8 to 5 percent.  This applies to 44,000 rentals in the City, about one-third of all rental property.
  • the Council approved San Jose’s first-ever anti-retaliation ordinance — protecting renters from eviction for simply asking landlords for repairs or pest control.
  • Councilmembers Ash Kalra, Raul Peralez, Don Rocha and Magdalena Carrasco continue to champion working family values.

But when the Council had the opportunity to improve lives of more middle- and low-income residents, it failed.  In addition to lowering the rent-control cap even more, the Council also could have applied rent control to more units.  The current policy only covers one-third of rentals.

Also, the City has to provide more long-term solutions to complement the rent control changes.  The City needs to construct more affordable housing!  San Jose’s goal is to build 20,849 affordable housing units by 2022.  Over the past two years, only 576 have started construction — underwhelming when compared to the 2,400 that need to go up each year to meet the 2022 goal.

The lack of leadership on the Council is astounding. This issue adds to the disappointing approach many on the Council have taken on important issues, including the City’s housing-jobs imbalance and resulting revenue shortcomings.  We encourage the Council to broaden their base of advisers and lead so that San Jose can be the true Capital of Silicon Valley.

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