I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.
-Thomas Sowell, Stanford University Economist
Rental housing has become a major focus in the march towards socialism in the U.S. The
socialist agenda is to eliminate the free market and move to state control of most economic
activity. The healthcare industry was the first target. Housing is next.
Rent control is the first attack to weaken the viability of the private rental business. There is a
growing trend of elected officials who believe housing should be financially subsidized by
landlords or run by the government. Politicians across the U.S. have stated publicly landlords
should not make a profit. The resulting legislation will harm and could eliminate the private
Fueling this trend is both the prediction that the U.S. is becoming a nation of renters and the
current lack of affordable housing. Data is being positioned inaccurately to justify the
government’s need to control every aspect of the rental business. For example, ManageCasa
stated “America became a renter nation in 2018.” and showed the growth in number of renters
was more than 33 times the growth in number of homeowners. The reality is the number of
renter households has actually declined from 37% in 1965 -when it was at its highest- to 36.6%
in 2016, according to a recent CNBC report based on Census data.
Relying on political lobbying to protect the private rental business is not enough. In response,
San Jose landlords decided intrusions into private business records and negation of established
contracts were substantial violations of the Constitution and enough to justify filing two
Read more to find out how to protect your rental business and your legal rights while you still
Statewide Rent Control
Given the perceived shifting demographics, it is not surprising that legislation and political
agendas favor tenants at the expense of landlords. Oregon has already become the first state to
initiate state-wide rent control! An additional six states (including California, Colorado, Illinois,
Massachusetts, New York, and Washington) are considering statewide rent control. This nation-
wide trend means more states will legislate a mandatory Rent Registry and other predatory
legislation. Proposition 10 may have failed with voters, but the California legislature has other ideas.
Governor Newsom has indicated he will sign legislation to allow statewide rent control and overturn Costa Hawkins. California already has a bill in legislation that will require a Rent Registry on ALL rental units including condos and single family homes.
Lawsuits to Protect Landlord’s Rights
The City of San Jose has continued to extend their reach and redefine what they can take under
the guise of rent control policy. In addition, new regulations are putting landlords at direct risk of
breaking the law no matter what we do. Because, if we comply with these new regulations, we
will be breaking other laws such as tenant privacy protections.
Landlords decided it is time to stop this trend. San Jose landlords found Frank Weisner, an
attorney who specializes in protecting landlords’ business rights. Frank has already set legal
precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court to protect these rights. The landlords will take the following
lawsuits to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
Rent Registry Lawsuit
The first lawsuit is against the Rent Registry. San Jose requires owners of all rent-controlled
units to provide the following information in their Rent Registry: rent paid, security deposit, date
of entry, date of departure, reason for departure, date of last rent increase, as well as, tenant
name, and home address with a link to the owner of the property.
This confidential and valuable landlord data will be in the City’s database and open to public
access by law. Under the California Public Records Act, anyone has the right to access any city
data. This public access does not include accidental data breaches or intentional theft of this
private information from anywhere in the world.
According to a City of San Jose ARO study, the Government’s cost to manage a Rent Registry
can be as much as one employee per 1,000 rental units. Cities pass these additional employee
costs onto the landlords through housing fees. Since recently enacting a Rent Registry, San
Jose’s housing fees to landlords have more than tripled from $19.29/unit in 2016 to $77.30/unit
Another problem for landlords is if a tenant is harmed because a tenant’s information is made
public through the Rent Registry. The landlord can be sued for violation of the tenant’s
Constitutional right to privacy; which provides protection for personal information from public
The legal thesis for the Rent Registry lawsuit is based, in part, on Patel v. City of Los Angeles
(Weisner) where private business records are protected by the 4th Amendment. The Rent
Registry lawsuit is already in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where it will get reviewed by
judges outside of California.
Expense Pass-through Lawsuit (RUBS)
The second lawsuit is to reinstate the landlords’ ability to pass-through utilities to tenants if the
building is on a master meter. Last year, San Jose voided current rental contracts and prohibited
any landlord under rent control to pass on utilities stating in the memorandum that “utilities are
too unpredictable and tenants need a more stabilized expense.” As stated in their memorandum,
San Jose City Council actually agreed to “void the rental contracts”.
RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing System) is a nationwide industry standard for allocating utilities to
tenants. It allows tenants to monitor and control their own utility costs and promote conservation.
Now landlords must pay for their tenants’ unfettered use of utilities regardless of contractual
agreements. Many rentals in San Jose are older single family homes that were divided into multi-unit apartments during the depression and have master-metered utilities as a result. Retrofitting sub-meters, to allow tenants to pay for their own utilities directly, is cost prohibitive. The cost
ranges between $25,000 and $100,000 per building per utility metered. The RUBS lawsuit has the same personal and business privacy elements as the Rent Registry lawsuit. It also covers the voiding of established contracts with tenants and interfering with legal
contractual documents. The City is prohibited from doing this by Article 1: Contract
Clause. Eliminating RUBS also effectively forces the landlord to defy the new California state
water conservation legislation on multi-unit housing.
Frustrated by the over-reaching nature of current rent control policies, tenants also filed a lawsuit
against the City of San Jose. Tenants are incensed that their personal information will be on a
housing portal accessible or breach-able by any number of sources. The thesis for the tenant
lawsuit is based, in part, on Carpenter v. United States, where individuals are provided 4th
Amendment privacy rights when giving private information to a 3rd party and have a reasonable
expectation of privacy.
Many of the new rent control policies do not benefit the tenants. Instead, they destroy the
profitability of the private rental business which will decrease the quantity of affordable units.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) even sent a letter of protest and warning to the City
of San Jose against the Rent Registry. It is a rare moment when tenants, landlords, and the
ACLU all agree.
Stem the Tide
Rent control is not limited to controlling rent increases. Instead, it is the umbrella term used for
many regulations including: just cause eviction which can lead to life-long problem tenants,
section 8 income discrimination, and vacancy tax.
If you think you are immune from your contracts being voided by the government, think again. If
the government is not stopped, they will expand rent control until it destroys your rental business
too. Litigation is the way to have our voices be heard. The fight against rent control starts with going
after the government’s infringement on our property rights and violation of our contracts. It is by
taking a stand now that we can stem the tide against destruction of our private rental businesses.
Protect Your Rights – Contribute!
Local and state governments are looking to San Jose for setting their rent control laws. Because
of the lawsuit, the battle against all Rent Registries starts in San Jose. These lawsuits give you
the ability to be a part of setting legal precedent. When legal precedent is established for San
Jose at the Federal level, (which is the goal) this can be used as leverage to protect your rights in
your town or state as others are doing with Patel v. City of Los Angeles.
Those who are advocating for government controlled rental housing are very well-funded. For
example, one organization has $7.7 million in assets. Help protect your rights, regardless of
where your property is located by contributing to the funding of our lawsuits.
Make your check payable to Frank Weisner, Attorney at Law, Trust Account for San Jose
Lawsuits and send your check to:
President of SPOA-SJ
C/O Dean Hotop
P.O. Box 8084
San Jose, CA 95155
How to Get More Information
Send questions to [email protected]
Check the legal precedent Frank Weisner established through the U.S. Supreme Court to
protect landlord’s property rights against government seizure of information without warrant
at: https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1653688.html and
Additional legal precedent supporting our lawsuits include:
Roberta Moore is a licensed Real Estate Broker in San Jose and has been a landlord since 1977.
She was an Advisor to the San Jose City Council to evaluate changes to their rent control
policy. Roberta has conducted extensive research on the impact of rent control and works with
landlords to improve their business practices and protect the profitability of their rental
properties. Roberta is a member of SPOA-SJ, BAHN-SJ, and other landlord advocacy