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The Lockean Project

Rental registry

“Rental registry”, Monterey Herald – Sept. 5, 2023

The Monterey City Council wants to saddle the city with a property registry and rent control.  Claiming it wanted to hear from us, on May 30 the Council hosted a packed town hall to air the topic.  The audience, which included a substantial number of renters, had very little good to say about the proposal. Why then is the city government barging forward on the project?

The details of the proposed ordinance are grim.  A variety of criminal, administrative, civil, and financial penalties are specified for landlords who stray.  The assumption is that landlords are not to be trusted!  In addition, exorbitant fees are levied on landlords to pay for the new rent control bureaucracy. If the overall goal is to provide affordable housing in Monterey, shouldn’t everyone be required to pay?

What will this add up to in the long run?  Lots of lawsuits.  This is the experience of Santa Monica which has had rent control since the 1970s and some of the highest rents in California despite rent control.  What used to be simple agreements between landlord and tenant will now increasingly be litigated.  I predict that rents will be higher as a result.

— Thomas F. Lee, Monterey

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