San Jose rents soar, tenants seek better rent control

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 07:17PM
High rents in San Jose and Silicon Valley in general have made it difficult for people to find a way to avoid paycheck-to-paycheck living.


SAN JOSE, Calif. - Living in Silicon Valley isn't cheap and finding an affordable place to rent is tough.

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"The rent is ridiculous," said Silicon Valley renter Tiffany Holder. "The rent goes up and the pay doesn't. I pay over $2,400."

Like so many people, Tiffany Holder lives paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet.

In April, tenants and landlords packed a city council meeting. The council reduced its rent hike cap from 8 percent to a 5 percent increase per year, but a city auditor says enforcement is challenging.

"We have not had the resources necessary to be effective in the community with tenants and landlords, what their rights and responsibilities are under the ordinance," said Ferrand Housing Director Jacky Morales.

The auditor highlights lack of oversight. There are 44,000 rent controlled apartments in San Jose, but only one administrator to enforce it.

The new ordinance also included a rent registry requiring landlords to document rental charges and anti-retaliation protections for tenants who raise maintenance concerns.

Matthew Reed meets families who come to Sacred heart Community Service for assistance. He says rent prices need to come down to make a difference. "If we lower that level, it would do more to protect people from super high rent prices who are really suffering," he said.

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A council committee will review the audit. The plan is to hire more staff to enforce the rent control ordinance by Jul. 2017.

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