February 17, 2015

Is It Time For Rent Control In San Mateo County? Some Say Yes - Others Say No

ON SATURDAY MORE than 200 people took to the streets and protested Redwood City's high cost of rental housing. The protest included local business owners who said the region has become too expensive for the wages they can afford to pay.

The march was a lead-up to a Redwood City Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night starting at 7 PM, 1017 Middlefield Road (City Hall), where an item on rent control is on the agenda.

High rents are not limited to Redwood City, however. Throughout San Mateo County rents have reached some of the highest levels in California. The average rent for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is over $2,500 which is second highest in the state, second behind San Francisco.
Dave Newlands/Daily Journal

The result of the high cost of living is
that many residents are being forced out of the rental market while many working-class families question whether they can afford to live in the county, or anywhere else on the Peninsula given the skyrocketing housing costs.

It's been said that the situation is the result of several factors - an imbalance between the surging jobs market and tight housing market; investors looking to flip rental properties; and the dissolution of California's redevelopment agencies, which had spurred affordable housing development. All of this has created a perfect storm.

There are slightly more than 35,000 households in San Mateo County that bring in less than half the county's median household income, but only about 12,000 rental units that are truly affordable for them.

Do the protesters who chanted "si se puede" in Redwood City on Saturday have it right?

Is it time for some type of rent control/rent stabilization in the county?

Let me know what you think.

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