On behalf of The silicon valley organization (The SVO), we are writing to support Councilmember Chappie Jones’ memorandum to maintain rent cap provisions of the Apartment Rent Ordinance (ARO) to 5%. Furthermore, we strongly encourage maintaining the Ratio Utility Billing System (RUBS) as noted in item 2 of the joint memorandum put forward by Councilmembers Johnny Khamis, Devora “Dev” Davis, and Lan Diep.

By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing 1,400+ companies that employ nearly 300,000 workers and we represent our membership as the region’s voice of business.

In May of 2016, the City Council voted on a framework of changes to the ARO with a rent cap of 5%; there has only been 18 months since that policy shift and there simply has not been enough time to study the economic impacts of that 5% rent cap.

Furthermore, we should maintain RUBS in order to promote additional conservation incentives for all residents in ARO units. We should not be rushing into a more aggressive rent control policy, without first assessing the impacts to small property owners. 

Rent controlled apartments in San Jose are limited to properties built before September 1979 and stricter rent control laws would make it more difficult for small property owners to maintain ARO units, which ironically would only making housing conditions even worse for tenants and invite blight to further creep into existing neighborhoods.

As it stands, a stricter rent control policy would only exacerbate the Silicon Valley housing crisis over the long-term and would not fundamentally solve the issue at hand. 

If the City of San Jose were serious about providing housing options for residents, then we must make a concerted effort to make a significant increase in housing stock for the region. In the meantime, we urge you to maintain apartment rent caps at 5% and maintain RUBS to minimize impacts to small business property owners in San Jose. 

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