By Chris Kramer — Sept 16, 2023
Mayor & City Council Members & Public:
Verbatim from the Rental Registry ordinance from Article 2, Sub-section 8-2.00, B. titled “Purpose”:
“The registration process will allow the City to collect, monitor and analyze the characteristics of the rental units and actual rents in Monterey. This data will be available to the City Council to inform future policy decisions about the regulation of the rental market in Monterey.”
In other words, the ultimate intent of this Rental Registry ordinance is to pave the way for Rent Control. City Council members have been quick to point out that this ordinance does not establish rent control. And that much is true. It does not establish rent control. But it is certainly paving the way for rent control. The direction that City Council is moving is pretty clear to the public. If it weren’t ultimately about rent control, then more reasonable alternatives would have been considered. Were any alternatives seriously considered? Why not?
You exempted ADUs and JADUs from this ordinance. WHY? Because you acknowledged that you didn’t want to discourage ADUs and JADUs. Knowing that a Rental Registry would discourage ADUs & JADUs, you must also acknowledge that a Rental Registry would discourage all other types of rental units as well. So why have a Rental Registry at all?
Rent Control is a bad idea. Economists are virtually in agreement on this. If rent control is implemented in Monterey, it would not only be bad for the residents of the City of Monterey, but also for residents all over Monterey County. Rent control has consequences opposite of those intended. It discourages development, rental units, and landlords. If you make it difficult to be a landlord, then landlords will quit being landlords. If you think that a Rental Registry discourages development, rental units and landlords, then wait and see what Rent Control does to the rental market! In an area that has a shortage of rental units, we don’t need to cause an even greater shortage. This shortage will hurt not only renters inside the city limits of Monterey, but also outside. A greater shortage in Monterey means a greater shortage in the county overall. This ordinance would have an impact on the lives of renters and landlords residing all over the county. Workers will end up living farther and farther away to commute to Monterey from other cities and counties that have units for rent.
The fact that City Council is pushing ahead with this despite the negative consequences and the unclear benefits leaves me scratching my head for answers. It makes me question whether the ordinance is really about the constituency when it can do so much harm, and when there is so much opposition. This is what makes members of the public question government and democratic processes. It makes me curious about the potential for ulterior motives. Perhaps some ambitious council members have their sights on moving up the political ladder. Rent Control would be just the thing to get you recognized for a County or State position. Unfortunately, Rent Control would probably be permanent for the people of Monterey, as well as the hardships that it will bring.
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