Last of legal challenges to MV rent control end

Special to the town crier
After years of steady rent increases, some Mountain View renters may see decreases, as shown in the bill comparisons above, due to a rollback provision under Measure V.

The last remaining legal challenge to a controversial Mountain View rent control law ended last week, and the city continued to push forward with the law’s implementation.

Mountain View City Attorney Jannie Quinn last week confirmed that a group of plaintiffs ended their challenge to Measure V May 10, on the heels of the California Apartment Association’s (CAA) announcement ending its legal challenge.

Measure V, a constitutional amendment passed in November’s general election, limits annual rent increases to between 2 and 5 percent and creates a rental housing committee to oversee implementation. The five-member board has since been appointed by the city council and held its first meeting May 8.

CAA suspended its legal efforts May 5 to overturn the Mountain View initiative, in addition to one passed last year in Richmond. Plaintiffs Alamo Walker Ventures LLC, Lindsay Properties LLC and Del Medio Investors LP, which joined the CAA lawsuit March 16, pulled out five days later, May 10. Hopkins & Carley of San Jose represents those plaintiffs.

CAA officials said they were dropping their legal challenges in the wake of recent court decisions favoring the rent control laws.

“After analyzing these decisions and the judicial climate moving forward, CAA decided to re-evaluate its legal strategy to ensure the most effective challenge to these measures,” CAA officials said in a statement.

Tom Bannon, CEO of CAA, said the association continues to believe rent control is unconstitutional, so “withdrawing these legal challenges was anything but easy.”

“We are taking this opportunity to explore new challenges to the measures while continuing our aggressive campaigns against rent control,” he added.

“The lawsuit is over,” said Daniel DeBolt, spokesman for the Mountain View Tenants Coalition, which initiated and campaigned for the passage of Measure V. “I hope rent control advocates everywhere are inspired. If there was any hope of showing rent control unconstitutional, it would have been a good move for them to keep fighting this up to the (state) Supreme Court. But they chose not to because they probably realized it would have been a losing battle and a colossal waste of money. Instead, we expect them to spend their money, which, by the way, was taken from us renters unfairly, to continue the same campaign of misinformation in other cities that they perpetrated on Mountain View.”

As Mountain View and Richmond roll out their rent control programs, CAA officials said they would continue to monitor each step the cities take, guarding against “onerous” regulations related to the programs while preserving opportunities to raise legal challenges in the future.

The city has scheduled tenant and landlord workshops to offer information and answer questions about Measure V. A landlord workshop is slated 6-8 p.m. Monday and a tenant workshop 6-8 p.m. May 25, both in the Mountain View City Hall Council Chambers, 500 Castro St.

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