News and Views
In October 2015, Scherrie and Langston Donaldson received a cryptic notice from their landlord, labeled “preferential rent credit removal.” At first glance, they weren’t sure what to make of it. “As you know, we have been billing you at a preferential rent for your 2013-2015 lease,” it read. “Unfortunately, at this time we are no longer able to extend this courtesy to you.”
April 25, 2017
It’s been over a month since San Francisco strengthened its law protecting SRO housing, and it’s already working. Introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin last December and later co-sponsored by Supervisors Cohen, Kim, Safai, and Sheehy, the new law was designed to stop the common but illegal practice of renting residential SRO rooms to tourists by the week. Now the law is crystal clear that residential units cannot be rented for less than 32 days.
April 24, 2017
Housing activists in Pasadena are asking the leaders of Fuller Seminary to re-read the Bible, especially this passage from Jeremiah: “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice.” The theological school is pushing a plan before the city’s Planning Commission this Wednesday that would destroy almost 200 units of affordable housing and replace them with 307 units of luxury housing. The prophet Jeremiah would be outraged. And so should all people of conscience in Pasadena, regardless of their religion.
It’s been well over a month since Measure S was defeated, but concerns raised by the contentious ballot initiative are still fresh in the minds of L.A. politicians. Two lawmakers, Council member Mike Bonin and Council member Bob Blumenfield, are asking the city to throw its weight behind a California state assembly bill amending the Ellis Act so that every tenant would receive a one-year notification prior to eviction.
April 24, 2017
It’s no secret that the Bay Area has become increasingly unaffordable for many workers because of the soaring cost of housing. But a recent study gives a glimpse into just how much the region’s sky-high rents are gobbling up the paychecks of one core segment of its work force: teachers.
April 23, 2017
The following is a Truthout interview with Peter Moskowitz, author of How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood. Mark Karlin: How do you define gentrification?strong
To Yountville leaders trying to learn how much local housing is dirty or dilapidated – or being used as illegal tourist getaways – compiling a list of all the town’s rentals has seemed a logical step. But a proposal to require landlords to register their units with the town has stirred pushback from property owners fearing another part of the plan – mandatory inspections of all units, whether owned by scofflaws or those sticking to the law.
April 22, 2017
Amid skyrocketing rents and a housing crisis, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday signed and praised a new law that aims to strengthen enforcement of the city's Rent Stabilization Ordinance. The law will require landlords who demolish rent-controlled units under the Ellis Act to either replace them one-for-one with affordable units or make 20 percent of new units affordable, depending on which is higher.
April 17, 2017
Implementation of rent control victories…
Despite ranking as one of the costliest rental markets in the nation, San Jose is the last major Bay Area city that lets landlords evict renters without citing a reason — but that could change under sweeping new tenant protections city leaders will consider Tuesday. Amid mounting pressure from renters, tenant groups and housing activists — including stories of hundreds of renters being kicked out of The Reserve apartments and dozens more evicted at the hands of one landlord — elected leaders are expected to approve some changes.
April 15, 2017
After 24 hours with no food and with about 100 more to go, hunger striker Jocelin Hernandez on Saturday said it’s a small price to pay to bring attention to an issue that’s too often dodged: renters’ rights in a housing market so hot that it’s frying people out of their homes. “This isn’t a political issue anymore — it’s a health issue,” Hernandez said. “We’ve tried everything else and are hoping this will get them to pay more attention.”
April 14, 2017
Auctioning off an apartment to the highest bidder may sound like a nightmare to those struggling to find a home in Los Angeles' tight rental market. But landlords and property managers can do exactly that with the help of digital tools from tech startups. Companies like Rentberry, Biddwell and the L.A.-based Property Connect have created websites and mobile apps that allow prospective tenants to place bids on apartments.
Rent control advocates failed to win over Concord’s City Council last year, but a proposed ordinance designed to keep rent hikes below 10 percent is picking up traction in the suburban city of about 125,000 people.
April 14, 2017
Under pressure from the California Apartment Association and other real estate interests, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has put on hold a bill that seeks to increase renter protections amid California’s widening housing crisis. Bloom wants to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law passed in 1995 that curtails the type of housing covered under local rental control laws and prevents cities from strengthening tenant protections for renters.
After listening to the concerns of distressed senior citizens living in the city’s mobile home parks, the San Juan Capistrano City Council unanimously agreed to continue halting mobile home park owners’ attempts to convert their senior parks to all-age residents. The Council voted 5-0 on April 4 to add six more months to a temporary moratorium on the conversion of any seniors-only mobile home parks to all-age parks, giving staff time to draft an ordinance amending the city’s current regulations regarding seniors-only parks.
April 14, 2017
They say the deals take advantage of those unable to afford spiralling rents and "go as close to the edge of the law…without breaking [it]". Websites hosting adverts for such offers are being urged to tackle the problem. As young people and the low-paid are priced out of accommodation, particularly in south-east England, "sex for rent" adverts have sprung up online. One classified advertising site, Craigslist carried more than 100 such listings in a single day, a BBC investigation found.
April 13, 2017
For the past two weeks, Javier Delgadillo has been on the go. In between his full-time job managing a car parts distribution company, his duties as a softball team dad and raising two teenagers, the East Bay native spends much of his spare free time reading the city’s rental housing laws and phoning or fielding calls from tenant advocacy groups, the city and legal organizations so his family can stay in their home.
Both the landlord and main tenant of 2551 San Pablo Avenue are deflecting responsibility of who was in charge of keeping the building safe before March’s deadly West Oakland fire. Keith Kim is the owner of the building. Kim and his family hired spokesman Sam Singer to speak on their behalf. In an interview with 2 Investigates, Singer said the family is heartbroken about what happened.
April 13, 2017
Last year, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission selected Bryan Valenzuela as one of two locals to create public art for the new Kings arena. Today, you can witness his sculpture—blown-glass spheres suspended midair—inside the Golden 1 Center. During arena-christening festivities, politicians thanked him and other creative-class denizens for giving Sacramento its artistic soul. And then, at the end of 2016, his landlord thanked him—with an eviction notice.
In 13 Years, Pasadena's Tenant Protection Rules Only Protected 91 Tenants. Now the City Is Trying to Fix That
April 9, 2017
Pasadena’s City Council fixed a loophole in the city’s Tenant Protection Ordinance this week and expanded the number of renters who qualify, but the ordinance still does not offer protections to most of the tenants in the city. Roughly one-half of Pasadena’s residents rent their homes, but only 91 tenants have benefitted from the Tenant Protection Ordinance in the last 13 years. The average rent in Pasadena is $2,515 per month, according to a report released in March. WHO IS PROTECTED