Dear AOA: 

Today I received my 2020 RSO bill.  On the top is reads:  “New in 2020: The RSO Fees Per Unit Have Been Increased.”   My building is under rent control.  This year, I was allowed to raise my rents 4%.  My RSO unit fees were INCREASED 18%!!  That is crazy. The RSO fee increases percentage should mirror the landlords rent increase percentage …  Double standard.                                  

                                                                                              Michael Stoeckli 

 

OPEN LETTER TO Assemblypersons David Chui, Richard Bloom and Rob Bonta:

Dear Friends:

We all agree that the Governor wanted to adopt a Universal Rent Control Measure similar to the Oregon Rent Control law.  We fully appreciated that and in order to be fair to landlords, we needed to allow them to have an annual rental adjustment/increase which would be fair and appropriate.  

Originally, in the Assembly version, there would be a floor of 7% and then the inflation factor would be thereafter added.  As a matter of convenience, the apartment industry, tenant activists and Realtors agreed upon the Consumer Price Index as applied in the general region or area where the property is located.  It would be silly to believe that some CPI formula in Northern California or even Central California could be applied in San Diego, Riverside or even Los Angeles. We want to be fair.

To be really fair, we should have included in the law that the tenants pay for water, sewage and trash and also pay one half of the cost of mandated health and safety measures such as earthquake retrofit and/or balcony/staircase construction or repair.  So, I believe that people of good faith should include on their website the proper interpretation that landlords should use their local area CPI [even considering the fact that the written law required that we use the “regional” CPI.

If we really wanted to be fair, our research clerks and staff would have advised us that CPI covers a basket of 211 items which have no relationship to the true operating costs or expenses of apartment owners … none!  We need a new formula.

In the meantime, I think it might be appropriate for Assemblyperson Chiu, who has always proven to be fair, compassionate and reasonable, to make the modest change [correction] on his web site.

Rent stabilization is complex and complicated.  A good faith effort to comply is required. So, as we enter into the New Year and we want everyone to be satisfied with AB 1482, perhaps a modest compromise by changing a few words on the web site would be helpful and show “good faith”.

Meanwhile, after aggressive negotiations for many months wherein all the parties agree that “vacancy decontrol” would be protected and preserved for 10 years, we now discover that apparently the Governor’s staff has created some type of Emergency Declaration for certain counties facing wildfire damage so that the maximum increase in rent, even on a vacant unit, can never exceed 10%.  I think that’s disingenuous, hypocritical and certainly inconsistent with the “grand bargain” made between the parties. Happy New Year, Michael Millman