Housing Advocates Say Rent Has Risen Four Times Faster Than Wages

With city officials considering tougher rent controls next month, a labor group Thursday released a study that showed rents in the city have risen nearly four times faster than wages.

“It’s hurting our working families and seniors here in San Jose,” said Jeffrey Buchanan, policy director at Working Partnerships USA, a labor think tank that produced the report. “A growing tech sector has created thousands of jobs, but it’s also pushed the demand for housing with rents rising much too rapidly for our working families to be able to keep up.”

The San Jose City Council on November 14 will consider strengthening the city’s rent control law, which covers nearly 46,000 apartments citywide — about a third of San Jose’s rental housing stock. Amid unprecedented outcry from renters struggling to survive the Silicon Valley housing crisis, the council last year reduced allowable rent increases from 8 percent to 5 percent per year.

Prior to the change, landlords could have “banked” unused increases to raise rent by up to 21 percent.

But some advocates said the rent control changes didn’t go far enough. They demanded the San Jose council next month approve a proposal to tie rent hikes to cost of living — which has increased anywhere from 0.7 percent to 2.8 percent over the last six years. The allowable rent hikes would be capped at no more than 5 percent.

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