Regulations passed by rent board puts full cost of city bonds onto tenants. Tenants and advocates are outraged at the pass off of costs.
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Why Tenants Should Oppose City Bonds
The Rent Board has issued new regulations requiring tenants to pay the full cost of city bonds. With three bonds totaling $130,000,000 on the November ballot, tenants will suffer rent increase passthroughs should voters approve the measures.
Is it fair for landlords to separately pass through all bond costs to tenants? Of course not. Tenants should be outraged at a regulation that allows a special rent increase even when the landlord’s overall expenses have declined. Landlords can now deduct the payment of bonds from their taxes while being reimbursed by tenants having to pay higher rents.
Tenants are entirely left out of the process to determine which bonds go to the ballot. A $100 million affordable housing bond, which most tenants would support, was disapproved by the bond committee. One committee member stated that the bond was unnecessary because jails should be counted as affordable housing. The committee did support a $440 million bond to replace underground storage tanks – perhaps tenants driven out of their homes by rent increases can live underground.
City officials should not ask tenants to bear the full cost of storage tanks while rejecting a bond for affordable housing. Tenants should not even be asked to support meritorious bonds that are unfairly financed by rent increases. While the upcoming $64 million in City Hall improvements is alleged to be essential, tenants should respond: if the City Hall project is so critical, the Mayor, Board and Chief Administrative Officer should ensure that a fair payment system exists. City infrastructure improvement must not be primarily funded by taxes on tenants.
Tenants must take a stand or risk automatic rent increases following each bond victory at the polls. There will be more bonds on the March, 1996 ballot, potentially including the massive $300-500 million Laguna Honda measure. Tenants ignore bonds at their peril.
Randy Shaw, Tenderloin Housing Clinic