Should Rent Control be Adopted in San Jose?

We are located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, an area flourishing with industry yet rich in culture and history.

As Bay Area housing prices and rents continue to soar, many of the region’s cities are experimenting with new policies aimed at curbing the high cost of living. One such policy is rent control, that is artificially controlling the market price of certain rental units so that their landlords are limited by what they can charge. San Francisco and Berkeley are two prominent cities that both have rent control regulations, but they only apply to a handful of units, and they haven’t kept pace with the recent housing surge. Now a San Jose City Council Member is proposing new program that would place an annual cap on how much rent could be increased for units built up until 1995.

Council Member Raul Peralez proposes to amend San Jose’s existing rent control program to include thousands of more units, and lower the annual rent increase cap. Under the current regulations all units built before 1979 are subject to a yearly rent increase cap of 8 percent. Peralez’s proposal would lower the cap to just 4 percent, so that annual rent increases could never exceed this limit, and it would apply to all units built before 1995.

San Jose’s Mayor Sam Liccardo has yet to take an official stand on Peralez’s plan, but has instead issued a statement of caution concerning the general topic of rent control. The follow quote was taken from an interview he gave with the Silicon Valley Business Journal:

“No one can dispute that we’re in a crisis of affordability in our housing market,” Liccardo said. “The question is whether City Hall does something to really address the issue or to make it worse. There’s ample evidence of City Halls throughout the Bay Area making it worse.”

Instead, Liccardo wants to study alternative methods of preventing price gouging. He also wants to explore a new series of policies aimed at incentivizing the development of more market rate housing.

Should San Jose amend its rental control program to only allow for a 4 percent rent increase for all units built below 1995? Are there other alternative programs that should be explored first? Vote and comment below.

San Jose Rent Control: Limit to 4 Percent Annual Increase

This initiative would expand San Jose’s rent control program to apply to all rental units built before 1995. These units would only be allowed to increase their rents by 4 percent per year, so as to slow price escalation.



  1. Seigi Tadokoro says:

    The council should consider exemption or a maximum increase of 1% on utilities, permit, business license, and garbage on the units that are under rent control.
    Council should make a study of the rent charge by buildings built before or by 1979.
    All too often the average rent is skewed by the higher rents charged by the newer buildings.

  2. Pat Ruch says:

    More socialism creeping into our lives!!! Where will it end?!!

  3. Roberta says:

    Seigi nailed it. I work with a group of 91 building owners who rent to low-income renters at below market rents. Most 2 bedroom units near Whole Foods on Blossom Hill are $1,000 to $1,600 per month. Most owners don’t even raise their rent 2% a year. A new one bedroom down the street is renting for $2,500.

    The scariest part of the proposal is the taking away of no cause eviction. With limited police, this is the only tool for getting rid of problem renters such as drug dealers. A cause eviction would require a conviction which is almost impossible to get. The Rental Rights and Referrals program already makes it illegal for a Rental Provider to give a no cause eviction and raise the rent. Why doesn’t the city just enforce the laws that exist?

    The sad part of the proposal is that older buildings will get squeezed and become viable targets for developers that will build new buildings that legally can’t be covered under rent control. Most older buildings serve low-income renters. Where will they go when those buildings are redeveloped?

    This proposal would make it so 16.8% of San Jose’s available housing is under rent control. It’s a proposal that does more harm than good for low-income renters. And, serves few of the people that are being affected by rising rents.

    If Councilmembers vote for this, they are not looking at the entire picture or the consequences of this proposal. Really sad.

  4. Roberta says:

    The ultimate outcome will be pro “big” business at the expense of
    small individual businesses.

  1. […] being written about potential new development policies, on new state policies, on homelessness, and other potential reforms. However, there is one measure that recently qualified for the San Francisco ballot that really […]

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