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Where is justice in rent proposal?
June 21st, 2016
By Jim Dempsey

Re “Advocates press initiative for San Mateo rent law,” June 9:

Rents in the Bay Area have hit all-time highs, forcing many to stretch their budgets to the limit. This phenomenon is due to a steadily rising population while housing construction has grown only slightly over the last several years. The solution being proposed in San Mateo is to limit the ability of older units to raise rents while exempting new and proposed rental units from rent control. Proponents know they must exempt new units from rent control or construction of new units would stop immediately. Where is the justice here? How is it fair to tell the owners of older apartments what they can charge but allow owners of new units to charge whatever the market will bear? And what about owners of old buildings who are retired and dependent on the income to support themselves.

We are living in difficult times, but requiring one class of apartment owner to support others, while exempting another group of owners, is completely unjust. The fact that rent control has been mandated in San Francisco for several years without a serious constitutional challenge, has lulled us into concluding that this system is somehow just. It’s not.

There are other means of giving rental assistance to low-income renters without placing the burden on the backs of a small segment of property owners.

Jim Dempsey
Redwood City


From June 23, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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