The city of Mountain View has until Jan. 20 to respond to a lawsuit challenging a voter-approved initiative limiting rent increases.
The California Apartments Association (CAA) last month filed a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to prevent Mountain View’s Measure V from taking effect. Passed in the Nov. 8 election, Measure V limits rent increases in most cases to between 2 and 5 percent annually and calls for establishing a five-member housing board to settle rental disputes.
The lawsuit, filed Dec. 21, also challenges the city’s Just Cause Eviction Urgency Ordinance. However, a stipulation agreement between CAA and the city provides that the ordinance will remain active during litigation.
Mountain View Mayor Pat Showalter said the just-cause eviction ordinance, adopted Nov. 15 by the council, is “an important protection for renters in our community who may be at risk of eviction without cause. It is good that we can continue to provide this protection while the legal challenge to Measure V is resolved.”
Showalter said the Mountain View City Council wants the public to know that “we take this matter very seriously and we regret any confusion this situation may cause renters and landlords.”
“We ask that our community understand that the city cannot say more about pending litigation at this time,” she added.
CAA must file a motion for preliminary injunction by Feb. 3 to continue to prevent implementation of Measure V. If the organization does, the restraining order will remain in effect until the court’s decision on the motion for preliminary injunction. Once the motion is filed, a hearing date will be set. If a motion for preliminary injunction is not filed by Feb. 3, Measure V will be implemented.
Daniel DeBolt, spokesman for the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, called CAA officials “grinches” for filing the restraining order so close to Christmas. But he expressed relief about the just-cause eviction ordinance remaining in effect.
“This means that landlords who have been evicting folks to avoid the rent rollback are still acting illegally,” he said.
Mountain View officials chose not to contest the Measure V restraining order “to provide time for the city to fully analyze the complaint and ensure the immediate preservation of the city’s Just Cause Eviction Urgency Ordinance,” city officials said in a statement. “The city is evaluating and assessing the lawsuit in order to determine next steps.”
CAA contends in its suit that the city’s urgency ordinance and Measure V, an amendment to the city’s charter, are invalid because both result in “government takings without due process of law in violation of the (U.S. and state) constitutions.”
CAA representatives last week also sought a temporary restraining order against a voter-approved rent control measure in Richmond. The city fought the action and a judge rejected the order. However, a hearing for a preliminary injunction to stop the initiative is scheduled Jan. 27.