In an effort to help tenants navigate the ever increasing costs of rents the City of Mountain View City Council adopted a Right to Lease ordinance improving tenant’s rights on December 8, 2015 which takes effect January 7, 2016. Now, landlords who own tri-plexes, four-plexes, and bigger (housed within a single structure) are required to offer tenants a minimum of six or twelve month tenancy. The tenant will now have the option of choosing a written lease document, or a month-to-month tenancy. If a written lease is selected the minimum term is required to be a six-month or twelve-month lease.
Moreover, the tenant and the landlord can agree to a different term provided the minimum term is met. In effect, this is allowing tenants an opportunity to get into a new tenancy without being forced into a month-to-month situation where the landlord can raise rents fairly regularly. Is this the early signs of rent control? Some say yes, others disagree, but we are definitely seeing a slow change in the balance of power in the landlord tenant Bay Area arena. Because of the increased demand placed on housing due to the amazing economic engine fondly known as Silicon Valley tenants are faced with an ever increasing pressure on rents.
Compliance Dates are Near
By January 7, 2016 a written lease must be offered to tenants renting a rental unit (within the scope of this ordinance) on or after January 7, 2016. The new ordinance does not apply to units which are already under a written lease prior to January 7, 2016.
By March 1, 2016 tenants with rental units not under a written lease (i.e., month-to-month tenancies) on January 7, 2016, must receive a written offer to lease by the landlord that complies with this new ordinance.
So that all tenants that fall within the scope of this new ordinance landlords are required to provide written notice of this ordinance either via hand delivery, mail, or electronically. Mountain View has also endeavored to publish this ordinance in Spanish, Chinese and Russian for use by landlords.
The Mandatory Language of the Notice is as Follows:
THE MOUNTAIN VIEW CITY CODE PROVIDES YOU WITH THE RIGHT TO A WRITTEN LEASE. LANDLORDS MUST OFFER TENANTS THE OPTION TO ENTER INTO A WRITTEN LEASE WITH MINIMUM TERMS OF SIX AND TWELVE MONTHS. IT IS THE TENANT’S CHOICE WHETHER TO ENTER INTO A WRITTEN LEASE OR A MONTH TO MONTH TENANCY. FURTHER INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE CITY’S WEBSITE (HTTP://WWW.MOUNTAINVIEW.GOV/RTLO).
All landlords within the scope of this new ordinance, including property management companies, must provide this notice with a written or electronic lease application. The City has translated the notice of this ordinance in Spanish, Chinese and Russian for convenience of non-English speaking tenants.
If a landlord or property manager, or property management company violates any portion of this new ordinance they will be subject to penalties including a fine which increases with each violation during one calendar year.
Additionally, a tenant who has not been properly noticed by their landlord or property manager can use that as a defense to any enforcement action by the landlord or property manager.
We have seen “Mom and Pop” landlords violate California and Federal law in the rental property business fairly consistently. Many tenants are not aware of their rights and because of this do not understand they have leverage against their landlords.
Silicon Valley Property Management Group manages client residential and commercial properties throughout the greater Bay Area. We provide full service property and risk management to our clients within the scope of normal property management services. We also provide free legal advice to our clients for the properties they own within the State of California – no other company can do this.
Silicon Valley Property Management Group guarantees certain performance standards because we adamantly believe that your money and assets are of utmost concern and require superior customer service. Beginning in 2016 Silicon Valley Property Management provides five (5) specific performance guarantees to our clients.
- Fee Guarantee – if you can find a lower fee to manage your property in writing, we will match it – provided the other firm has the same qualifications, experience, and expertise – we guarantee to match it.
- Response Guarantee – If an owner or tenant calls, texts, or emails us, we will respond within 24 hours, or we will waive that month’s management fee. You will probably hear from us much sooner.
- Service Guarantee – If we don’t mail, deposit, or wire your monthly proceeds by the date we are contractually obligated to, we will waive that month’s management fee (unless that date falls on a National Bank Holiday, or Sunday in which case the funds will arrive or be mailed the next business day).
- Payment Guarantee – If the tenant does not pay their required rent as agreed, you don’t pay us our management fee. We are only paid when you are.
- Satisfaction Guarantee – If you are not satisfied with our service, you can cancel our contract at any time with a 30-day notice without any further compensation.
David Roberson, Esq. is a licensed real estate attorney, a licensed real estate broker, and has been involved in the real estate business since he graduated from college in 1986. David has personally been involved in hundreds of real estate transactions, has personally inspected over 2,500 residential properties, 12,000,000 sq. feet of commercial space, and is an expert in 12 separate building code categories. He and his wife Shelly have managed a personal portfolio of real properties in California and Arizona since 1998. David manages over 100 properties for clients in Silicon Valley including residential, commercial and shopping centers. Visit his website at http://www.svpmg.net, or contact David for a personal confidential conversation at 1-408-838-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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