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The Lockean Project

Rental registry bad idea

“Rental registry bad idea”, Carmel Pine Cone – Sept. 15, 2023

The Monterey City Council really missed the mark (except for councilmembers Ed Smith) with the rental registry ordinance. This registry is nothing more than a feel-good waste of money and resources. Can the city point to any other city that has enacted this ordinance and seen availability skyrocket and rents plummet?

This ordinance does absolutely nothing towards providing more housing or increasing the affordability of housing. In fact, it will likely have the opposite effect. Landlords of multi-unit properties who respect tenure in tenancy and rent below market rate to long-term tenants may be in a position of raising rents to not appear discriminatory or arbitrary. Potential buyers of rental property will think twice before investing in a city in which they must disclose information that is typically confidential between a landlord and tenant (the tenant may disclose this information anytime they feel wronged).

Under this ill-conceived ordinance, the property owner’s hands are tied. All tenant contractual agreements will become public record and be scrutinized.

Every city or state (including California) that has attempted to regulate private rental property in one way or the other has seen rents increase and availability decrease. Government interference in private property or private business should be restricted to that which is absolutely necessary for health and safety.

If the city council, as it has said, is only interested in the rental stock and prices (which the exclusion of ADUs brings into doubt), the information is readily available on Craigslist and the U.S. Census. And it won’t cost $400,000 to access.

Tony Sollecito, Pebble Beach