“Rent control, a political tempest familiar to Mountain View, is set to be a major statewide issue in this November’s election.

Proposition 10, a ballot initiative that would end the state’s restraints on local rent control policies, has thrust the controversial issue back into the spotlight.

Specifically, Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 23-year-old piece of legislation that restricts rent control to certain types of older housing. Rent control measures in the state are prohibited from curbing prices on single-family homes, condominiums, or any apartments first occupied after February 1, 1995. It also forces cities to allow apartments to jump to market rate whenever a tenant moves out.

But while the repealing Costa-Hawkins would be a game-changer for many cities, its immediate impact in Mountain View would be muted, experts say. Landlords of apartments built after 1995 would still have free rein to charge tenants whatever the market will allow.

The reason is Mountain View’s rent control law β€” the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (CSFRA) β€” has many of the core tenets of Costa-Hawkins baked into its language. For example, the 1995 cutoff date for apartments is written into the law, which was approved by voters as Measure V in 2016. Likewise, single-family homes, accessory units and duplexes are explicitly exempted from rent control under the CSFRA.

What this means is even if Proposition 10 passed, many of the Costa-Hawkins’ restrictions would essentially remain in place in Mountain View. Back in 2016, when Mountain View’s law was being drafted, there was nothing to indicate that Costa-Hawkins could be repealed, said Juliet Brodie, the Stanford Law Clinic professor who co-authored the CSFRA. While Brodie said she supports Proposition 10, she acknowledged that Mountain View wouldn’t see much in the way of change β€” at least not right away.”

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