Survey finds mixed views on rent regulations

Last issue, I talked about asking the right question and used rent issues as an example. Here are the results, with 339 responses.

Q. Should residential rent increases be limited to once every 12 months, unless approved by a binding rent review board?

42.43 percent, strongly agree.
24.04, agree.
9.5, disagree.
25.43, strongly disagree.
7.12, neither agree nor disagree.
1.48, don’t care.

Q. Should a tenant always be given the option of a one-year lease when moving in or when a lease expires? (Landlords may offer different rates for different lease terms.)

24.93 percent, strongly agree.
26.41, agree.
15.73, disagree.
14.54, strongly disagree.
15.73, neither agree nor disagree.
2.67, don’t care.

Q. Should notice of rent increase at the end of a lease be given in advance, based on the formula of one month for every year a tenant has been in the unit to a total of not more than six months?

21.24 percent, strongly agree.
30.97, agree.
16.52, disagree
10.32, strongly disagree.
14.75, neither agree nor disagree.
6.19, don’t care.

Q. Should rules relating to the timing of notices of rent increases be restricted to landlords who own more units – and how many units?

41.96 percent, no limit.
8.93, two or more units.
8.04, five or more units.
5.65, 10 or more units.
2.98, 15 or more units.
4.46, 20 or more units.
7.74, 28 or more units.
20.24, don’t know.

Q. Do you agree that the market will fix the housing crisis?

10.06 percent, strongly agree.
12.13, agree.
28.40, disagree.
28.99, strongly disagree.
14.50, neither agree nor disagree.
5.92, have no clue.

Taken as a whole, there is a fairly consistent 22-33 percent who are opposed to anything relating to changes in the rent regulations. This range is pretty consistent on a bunch of other issues in our city, such as cannabis, birthright for citizenship, taxes or choices in presidents. I am not sure of the overlap, but it might be an interesting subject to explore.

I think that regardless of the topic, there will be always a 22-30 percent minority either for or against the matter. What I find most interesting is when there is 30 percent for, 30 percent against and 30 percent unsure. That is the condition for a great social debate.

People who disagree with the survey will attack the survey participants. I often repeat the same questions of big-money, scientifically billed polls of likely voters, and the Pulse tracks pretty close to them. So I am confident that we have a reasonable mix of demographics.

There will also be complaints that the number is not representative, although it seems it is always representative when you agree with the majority of the participants.

The next thing will be to attack the questions themselves as biased. I always ask for advice on better phrasing. I found it interesting that two of my most conservative followers took opposite views, one saying the questions were very neutral and the other saying that the questions were very biased in their structure and biased by virtue of the topic.

Clearly, I found large support for regulation of these rent issues and a determined opposition minority. Whether the opinions will match the applied power to bring things in line is to be seen. And that is what we call politics.

Send comments to or 510-812-8180.

Edi Birsan