Vantage Pointe apartments in East Village.
After renting at Vantage Pointe apartments for a year, my wife and I were inclined to renew our lease for 2022 and beyond.
The new lease agreement came with sticker shock: A 21-percent increase, equating to a $518 bump per month.
We were stunned. Is that even legal?
Even if it’s somehow legal, is it ethical to jump the price that steeply? Right after a mandated quarantine induced by a worldwide pandemic?
Vantage Pointe is a luxury, 40-story, mega high-rise with nearly 700 units in downtown San Diego’s East Village. It’s part of the Brookfield Properties portfolio.
The parent company is Brookfield Asset Management, an international investment company operating in 30 countries with 150,000 employees and assets totaling roughly $700 billion.
I’m a solopreneur writer who works from home.
Vantage Pointe: It’s a long way up.
I immediately started investigating local and state laws. Legal representatives and landlord/tenant experts I consulted with were uniformly confused on this issue.
A winding path led me to multiple readings of AB-1482. This is a state law referred to as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
According to AB-1482, over the course of a 12-month period, a California landlord may only raise a residential tenant’s rent 5 percent plus the local cost of living rate.
The cost of living in San Diego is 4.1 percent. That means the total increase should legally be limited to 9.1 percent.
The rent increase I was presented with was more than double that percentage.
Both the leasing manager and the general manager at Vantage Pointe assured me that the 21-percent jump was simply in reaction to “current market conditions.”
True, downtown rents are ballooning at an insane rate. But the law is the law, right?
After wrangling with the on-property leasing office for weeks, a provision in AB-1482 was pointed out to me. It seems Vantage Pointe owns an exemption from the rent-increase-cap law because the building is less than 15 years old.
Vantage Point opened for business in 2008. The building is 14 years old.
My wife and I conferred. We’d sold our residence over a year ago (a downtown condo) and were weighing options before possibly getting back into the market.
Sigh. No, we’re not real-estate gurus.
We wanted to continue living downtown. My job, after all, is editor of a city-centric website.
But a 21-percent hike? That’s amoral.
Market conditions after dark at Vantage Pointe.
I went back to AB-1482. Another line in this inarticulate document seemed to give me some footing.
The law said landlords are required to inform tenants–upon signing of their initial lease–that the building is exempt from the rent-increase cap.
We’d had no such initial warning, verbally or in document form, from Vantage Pointe.
(To accurately state the facts, Vantage Pointe did give me 60-days notice prior to revelation of the big rent boost. Apparently that’s a law that can’t be circumvented.)
As mentioned, I spoke with more than half a dozen people whose business is landlord/tenant law. Some believed I’d found an out with the part about fair warning on signage of the lease.
However, AB-1482 (the Tenant Protection Act?) also does not require buildings less than 15 years old to acknowledgment the rent-cap exemption in a lease.
Wait, shouldn’t buildings with exemptions be the very entities required to point that out?
Vantage Pointe’s leasing manager did concur that the law can be confusing. She informed me that even though a rental agreement addendum is not yet required, the building will begin issuing them in leases moving forward.
When I reached up the chain of command to Brookfield on this issue, their central customer service team kicked my inquiry back to Vantage Pointe’s general manager.
By March, the deadline was upon us.
Weighing all the pros and cons of the building itself, the necessity to live downtown for work, and the cost and hassle of relocating, we resignedly renewed the lease.
The garage entranceway to 14-year-old Vantage Pointe.
I’m publishing this story to send an advisory to current residents and prospective renters at Vantage Pointe: Buyer Beware.
Mine isn’t a hardship case. But the affordable-housing crisis touches a wide swath of people up and down the socio-economic ladder.
It shouldn’t escape notice that Brookfield, the parent company of Vantage Pointe, was part of local headlines this week.
The City of San Diego is looking to finalize its off-and-on search for a redevelopment partner for the Sports Arena/Midway District. Previous San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer had picked Brookfield.
However, Brookfield’s bid was tossed aside because it didn’t sync with the state’s Surplus Land Act. Specifically, it lacked an acceptable affordable housing component.
Back to the drawing board. Five new developer bids were accepted.
On April 11, current Mayor Todd Gloria’s team recommended tossing out two bids, including the “Discover Midway” plan presented by Brookfield.
The city ranked Brookfield’s proposal last in terms of affordable housing.
Jessica Jones, a senior director with Brookfield, was quoted in The San Diego Union-Tribune: “Our commitment to San Diego doesn’t begin or end with the sports arena project. We will continue to follow the city’s lead on next steps in the process and look forward to further strengthening our local roots for the years to come.”
Brookfield’s monolithic presence in San Diego doesn’t deserve to be watered or nurtured.
Still, I’ll be there to sing “Happy Birthday” when Vantage Pointe’s roots turn 15 years old. SDSun
In Other Attributed News…
Nick Cannon and 50 Cent doing some two-fisted drinking at Wild ‘N Out Sports Bar and Arcade. (Courtesy photo)
Top of the Pops. Theatre Box has got stars on its big screens, as well as in the basement and on the roof. On April 10, rapper 50 Cent showed up to double fist cocktails with TV personality Nick Cannon, whose Wild ‘N Out Sports Bar and Arcade just opened below Theatre Box on Sixth Avenue. Later this spring, Nick Jonas (1/3 of pop band Jonas Brothers) will open his first Villa One Tequila Garden on the roof of the Gaslamp Quarter mixed-use movie-plex.
Can Bieber Hit for Power? San Diegans took to social media after singer Justin Bieber’s televised Grammys performance. Seems the Biebs was sporting a backwards “SD” Padres baseball cap during the telecast. Reaction was mixed. Padres fans should agree it’ll be far more harmonious to see injured star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. back on TV wearing a Padres cap. (Twitter)
Wonderful News. The Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival is back for 2022 and the high-powered headliners have been announced: Zac Brown Band, Kings of Leon and Gwen Stefani. More than 100 bands will play on 10 San Diego bayfront stages November 18-20. Could this be the successor to Street Scene? Early-bird pre-sales for Wonderfront have already opened. (ticket information)
Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman Exhibition. Before Comic-Con arrives this July, the Comic-Con Museum will premiere a web-tacular display in its new Balboa Park setting. “Beyond Amazing Spider-Man–The Exhibition” will cover 60 years of Peter Parker and all things Spidey. (Collider)
Midnight at Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway. The Instagram video posted by nbcsandiego (below) was shot in the Marina District on April 2. It appears April Fools’ Day went overtime. No arrests were made.
View more on Instagram.
Some of the 200 or so bystanders at a so-called illegal “intersection takeover” in downtown San Diego were lucky to wal…
A History of Hookers & Hooters. A 6,000-square-foot Madam Bonnie’s restaurant is taking over the property at 411 Market Street in the Gaslamp Quarter. Colorful history here. The new eatery takes its name from the a onetime widely-known house of ill repute madam, Bertha “Bonnie” White. The news spot is across the street from the former downtown location for a Hooters. Hmm. (Eater San Diego)
Brand New Bag. The Triangle Project is paying people experiencing homelessness $2 per bag to pick up trash near the intersection of 16th Street and Commercial Street. Funded by the Lucky Duck Foundation, the initiative has spent $2,600 for 1,300 bags filled with 10 tons of trash. Lucky Duck executive director Drew Moser is hopeful this project could be scaled and expanded. (10News)
We’ll Always Have Paris. Fashion Week San Diego returns in person for the annual Spring Showcase on April 23 at Hotel Republic in downtown’s Columbia neighborhood. Flashback: Who remembers when the property was a W Hotel and Paris Hilton allegedly tossed doggie poo out of a high-floor hotel window? That’s…haute?
Five Minutes to Loos. Paris Hilton notwithstanding, urban San Diego continues to be bowled over by a lack of public bathrooms. The city’s goal: a bathroom within five minutes of any downtown location. Don’t hold your breath (or, maybe do) the city is still struggling to roll out solutions all over town. (Voice of San Diego)
A Final Word on Fecal Matters. The city’s lack of bathroom facilities is especially hard on people experiencing homelessness. San Diego State University’s “Project for Sanitation Justice” reports that at night in downtown there is just one restroom for every 383 unsheltered people. (San Diego Reader)
DEALS & CONTESTS
- Yum! Slurp! Ahhh! The Comic-Con Museum and Feeding San Diego have teamed up to present a Hunger Action Hero Art Contest. A “Hunger Action Hero” rescues food and distributes it to people facing chronic hunger. Entries are aimed at K-12 students and should include original artwork and an origin story. The winner will have their hero brought to cosplay life by a designer, and get four tickets to San Diego Comic-Con 2022. Deadline to enter: April 22. Enter HERE.
- Walk This Way. Out of the Ordinary Group Adventures has a Get Fit Walking program that’s both fun and a physical fitness boon. (Check out the story about the company’s downtown San Diego scavenger hunts.) Groups that want to participate in Out of the Ordinary’s “Hidden Gems” or “Secret Beaches” walks can go HERE for details. Use the promo code: SDSun11 and get an 11-percent discount on tickets.
- Oh Say, Can You See? Have trouble seeing the online print when reading insightful, hyperlocal newsletters? Check out Readers.com for its vast and affordable supply of reading glasses. Use the Code: FRESH40 and get 40 percent off your order. (Expires May 31, 2022.) SDSun