This article was posted on Monday, Jul 01, 2019

Dear City Council:
I just wanted to throw in my two cents. I own several properties in Northern California. I have several tenants that are on hard times and I’m trying to do the best I can to help them. One of my tenants, an elderly couple, have been with me for over seven years.. They lost their house in the 2008 housing crisis. They had a nice house almost paid for and then lost it. They now live on Social Security Income and are struggling to make ends meet. I could rent the place for around $2,800 month but they pay me $1,950. My expenses are going up but I continue to help them. RENT CONTROL or the hint of RENT CONTROL changes the nature of this.  If my rents are low and the future looks bleek regarding raising rents, guess what? I’m increasing my rents immediately to make sure I don’t fall so far behind that I’ll never recover. It signals to landlords, such as myself, that a strategy should be in place to protect the future value of my property against the regulation which contributes to the devaluation of property values. The strategy: Increase rents to market rates immediately and then raise the rates to the allowed 5% every year regardless of the consequences as allowed by these regulations. It’s the worst thing ever to regulate rents. It won’t work. It just increases cost and reduces the desire to actually own or even build affordable rental property. Figure out something else to achieve your goals. Help people who have a vested interest in keeping rents low – (good tenants, maintained property, helping people in need, etc.) Maybe a tax credit for those that can demonstrate a nice house at a fair price.. That would actually be a better incentive, like the carrot and not the stick (rent control).  Thanks for your consideration – Jim A.

To the City Council:

Hello, I believe a landlord should have some hope of getting to, or, very close to market over a reasonable period of time (not 50 to 100 years!)
I came up with two ways this can be accomplished, while at the same time, tenants will have protections from severe spikes. (explained in the text below)
My situation:  I have been a small, mom and pop landlord for 20 years.  I have never raised rents. Since high school (I am now almost 60 years old), my profession has been driving school and city buses, in addition to truck driving/hauling for a few of those years. I saved all my extra money for the first 20+ years of driving jobs for a down payment; my rentals are my only investment! 

Rent control would punish those landlords the most who have voluntarily kept their rents the lowest over the years – (like myself).
I have two different tenants who make $200,000.00 to $300,000.00 per year.  I have a couple just out of college (one year ago) who make $150,000 per year.  My last 10 years’ income has averaged about $55,000 per year.
Why should I have to subsidize those who make three to six times what I make?  So, I have to subsidize those who are younger, have their lives ahead of them, make much more money than me, and  have much more opportunity via the college degrees they have?
This is what will be forced upon me if there is not something written into any rent control law that is proposed, that does not consider, whatsoever, folks like me who have extremely, way below market rents TO BEGIN WITH! (It is key to recognize how far under the market a rental is.)
The typical formula for raising rents annually in rent controlled cities that I have seen, is “one have of the inflation rate”.  Using this rate, I would only be able to raise my rents by $5, yes, $5 dollars per month. (my long term tenants pay approximately $1,000 in a $2,000 market)  I am at retirement age now.  I have treated my tenants more than fair over the last 20 years.  I should not be punished by having to support those who make so much more than me.

Proposal #1:   Why not write into the law that a landlord can go to say, 85% of the market rent with a six month notice, then, maybe some sort of rent control formula kicks in at that point?  Otherwise, at $5 per month, it would take me 100 years (yes, 100 years) to go from the way below market $1,000 I currently charge, to $1,500, which would still be $500 under market.
Proposal #2:  Another option – how about a “4-year plan”.  I give notice that rents will go up from the current rent to market rent over four years of equal, annual raises.  This allows tenants who may not have a lot of resources, to be able to plan, knowing exactly what the rent will be over a reasonable, predictable period of time.  The tenants will not have to worry about a sudden, one time huge increase.
I have other ideas as well. In summary, however, applying rent control to those who have near market rents the same as those landlords who have very low rents is very short sighted and unfair.
Please have something in place for those like me.
NOTE: “Cost of Living” adjustments do not work and are not realistic with rent control.  When the “trades” are in demand, (i.e., plumbers, painters, etc.) their pricing goes straight to market pricing.  During the bad economy/real estate bust 8 to 10 years ago, fully licensed general contractors were advertising on Craigslist looking for work at $25 to $30/hr.
Let me give you a few examples of pricing that I personally have had to deal with over the last 10 months:

A.  One rat in attic: Average of first three bids – $2,600.00 (probably $500 or less in slow times?)
B.  Termites in living room eating wood carpet tack strip: Average of first three bids – $2,400.00.   

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      This was to treat a specific area, and also spray crawl space and attic.
C.  “T” drain behind sheet rock in upstairs bathroom sink leaked and needed to be replaced. First 

      Bid – $1,950.00.  Probably after 20 calls over two days, I got a guy to do the  job for “only” 

     $650.00.   (less than a two- hour job)
D.  Insulate Attic: Average of four bids was over $4,000.00, including Home Depot at $5,400.00 –  

      (I thought they would have been one of the cheaper).
E.  Current Vacancy: Popcorn ceiling scraped (no asbestos) re-texture, paint. Three bids so far:  $4,895.00, $5,100.00 and the 3rd guy was less, but, I did not           really trust him.  So, I got up on the ladder while continuing to look for more reasonable pricing, and started and completed the scraping.

F.  Lots more than listed here, but, those are the highlights.   

There are many more things on the horizon, remodels, carpeting/flooring, electrical, new plumbing and electric, major problems, or even a rebuild (ouch!)  No, I can’t keep up with these costs even remotely close with $5 to say, $20 per month rent increases per year.    Thank you, Rick L.

Dear Council Members: 

I have done my best to limit rent increases for existing tenants. Most landlords have done the same. I am happy to share my rent increase data with you.  

Please do not punish those who have acted in good faith for the greediness of a few.  

You are forcing long term apartment owners with good track records to take severe action to protect their property rights.     Jim B.

Dear Council Members:

As a property owner in Concord and Real Estate agent I oppose rent control in Concord.  You are forcing me to raise my tenant’s rent now because you are talking about rent control. You are only hurting the tenants.  I have not raised rents for my tenants in 10 years by the way.  SF has rent control and the rents are the highest around.  You think rent control sounds good for the renter but it only hurts them long-term.  Best regards,  Anthony Navarro 

Hello Concord Council:

I believe that 5% rent increase cap and evictions for cause only create problems for renters and landlords.

The cost of repairs can be very high and repairs for things other than normal wear and tear can quickly escalate to $100,000 or more. This makes evictions necessary.

Rents are not the biggest problem and increasing supply of rentals will not happen if the city and state make management impossible.

The jobs in most areas do not pay fair living wages that include medical, etc. Property taxes on new units are approximately two-thirds of the rent making rentals a bad investment – which keeps the supply low.

Foreign investment often means empty units causing more shortage. Foreign purchasers should have an additional tax on their purchase that could be used for homeless housing, drugs and mental health.

Surveys of the affordable housing nationwide shows that as many as 80% of these units are occupied by illegal aliens causing further shortages of the most needed hosing (low cost). These should be made available to our citizens first and foremost. 

More units available would create more competition and cap the ever rising rents. Fires alone have created further shortages of housing units. NO rent control. In San Francisco, this has been shown to cost renters more in the long run.    Thank you,  Bernie B.