All Californian tenants deserve rent control

I go by Doug Rose. Over the years I have been a private business owner, worked in the tech industry, and now I mostly volunteer as an advocate for the blind. I also work closely with the senior population in the area through Senior Center Without Walls a program offering activities, education, friendly conversation, and support groups to seniors.

In 1996, I moved in to North Woods Mobile Home Community, in McKinleyville, California, along with my wife Patti, and my sister in-law whom is special needs. We moved up from Southern California, Ventura County. When we first moved we didn’t have a lot of money, I was only receiving my disability income, my wife had just retired and was returning to university. We chose a manufactured housing community because at the time it was too expensive to rent a house and none of the places we checked out were decent. At only 1,500 dollars down we were able to get into our own home.

When we moved into Northwoods it had just opened up so all of our neighbors were just moving in as well. We were all on the same boat just arriving into our new affordable homes. This created a great sense of community. Also the closeness of your neighbor allowed you get to know them well. We look out for each other here in the community and if my wife ever leaves town, as a blind person, I know I have neighbors I can call on that are willing to assist me if need be. Living in a community like this reminds me a of the small town American experience that I grew up in as a child. This is special place for my wife and I.

Currently I am satisfied with the affordability of my mh community, but I want to protect the affordability for the guy working down the street in retail who isn’t in a mh. For the teachers who are caring for their students. For the senior who is living off of social security or a fixed income and cant afford an increase in rent. Corporate real-estate owners are too often beholden to their bottom line “profit”, and don’t take into consideration the people they affect when increasing rent. Without any type of rent control ordinance in place, it doesn’t matter what kind of structure you live in you’re going to experience rent increases. Whoever is in charge it’s really up to them how fair they want to be about rental increases from landlords. If there is nothing regulating them they are bound to raise rent to however much they think the market can bare. What happens too often though, especially in places like the Bay Area with a large influx of tech workers, is that you have the people working for Google pricing the guy out of his home who serves them coffee. I want to keep the human feeling of the community.

In California local city and county politicians who are trying to protect their constituents from skyrocketing rent cannot do so because of Costa-Hawkins. If I was an elected official I would be for new development providing housing, but I’d say don’t hamstring me in my ability as a representative by saying that I am not allowed to institute an ordinance providing rent control to my city. I want it to be a win win for both sides, renters and landlords, but at the moment it has become to one-sided. The landlords dramatically have more power than the tenants under Costa-Hawkins. I think it is possible though for everybody to be a winner in this situation of affordable housing. We aren’t saying that developers and landlords can’t operate for profit, we are just asking for a voice at the table. We are still going to pay our rents, so lets all be part of the solution and come to a compromise.

I think that when it comes to rent control we could model it after our local Measure V that we passed here in Humboldt County in 2016, which allowed for rent stabilization in mobile home communities. Under Measure V landlords can raise rent once a year based on the cost of living in San Fransisco, but before that they were only required to give a 90 day notice and could pick how much they wanted to raise it. To me, before Measure V, rent increases were a little unfair and unreasonable, but this has become a common practice in our society that is only concerned with profit. We need to have laws and regulations in place to protect the average renter.

Having grown up on a sharecropping farm as a child I see the importance for some protection when addressing issues of affordable housing. The owner of the farm I grew up on could not have cared less about the dire situation we were living in. When my father requested to have the landlord fix the roof because there was a leak instead of addressing the issue my father was simply told to put a bucket under the leak. Not having any protections from the landlord also created heavy anxiety for my mother who was constantly concerned that the owner would discover reasons to financially penalize my family for some made up violations. So I know how renters feel when they have no voice at the table. We need new strategies to bring more unity to our community and keep families in their homes. This is why repealing Costa-Hawkins is important because it would give more power to the tenants and the communities they live in to address the affordable housing crisis.

Please fill out this form if you’d like to join me in the effort to repeal Costa-Hawkins. We can work together to give tenants and communities a voice on affordable housing issues.