News and Views
President Donald Trump's administration will seek to slash spending on affordable housing and community development programs, a plan that housing advocates condemned as "immoral" and a blow to voters who sent him to the White House.
Eviction Action Against Brooklyn Tenant Activist Exposes Housing Vulnerability Left Unaddressed by Federal Prosecutors
May 19, 2017
Mr. Ireland, Ms. Stuart's attorney, said he believed, in his experience with housing court, that landlords appeared to target tenant activists for retaliation. "It's common," Mr. Ireland said, adding that, "What is uncommon is tenant organising," raising the spectre that retaliation by a landlord against a key tenant activist could hinder the movement to protect tenants' rights.
May 19, 2017
Renters are starting to look for cheaper housing options outside downtown cores, prompting rent payments to rise faster in the suburbs than in urban areas, according to a new Zillow® report out Friday. For the first time in four years, suburban rents are rising faster than urban rents.
"They are already making a huge profit. They bought these homes for pennies. They have already taken the money out of East Palo Alto. The rent is already $2,800. I'm a homeowner. That's more than my mortgage," he said. The protesters said they have no grudge against mom-and-pop landlords with one or two properties; it's the corporate investors who snatch up large numbers of properties with whom they take umbrage.
City supervisors reached a consensus late Wednesday on inclusionary housing requirements that they say strikes a balance between developers and affordability advocates. The agreement would decrease the percentage of affordable housing that developers must build on site under Proposition C, which passed last June, except for in the two neighborhoods most impacted by the housing crisis until further study.
May 18, 2017
A yearlong battle in San Francisco City Hall ended Wednesday night when two factions on the Board of Supervisors reached a compromise on how much affordable housing to require in new market-rate developments. The agreement between progressive Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Jane Kim, and moderate Supervisors London Breed, Ahsha Safai and Katy Tang, will require that 18 percent of the rental units be affordable in all projects approved between now and January. That quota will rise to 19 percent at the beginning of next year, and to 20 percent in 2019.
May 17, 2017
The last remaining legal challenge to a controversial Mountain View rent control law ended last week, and the city continued to push forward with the law’s implementation. Mountain View City Attorney Jannie Quinn last week confirmed that a group of plaintiffs ended their challenge to Measure V May 10, on the heels of the California Apartment Association’s (CAA) announcement ending its legal challenge.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to explore policies aimed at expanding affordable housing options and protecting renters, calling it part and parcel of the fight against homelessness. Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the study. "Countless residents in the unincorporated areas of my district have experienced skyrocketing rental rates in their neighborhoods," she said. "We need more tools to secure housing stability for the most vulnerable county residents."
Renters in Alameda secured a victory early Wednesday morning when the City Council voted to protect them from unjustified evictions. The move came after the council heard from renters who said they fear that they could be put out of their homes at any time amid the Bay Area’s hot real estate market, and from property owners who said they were being treated unfairly and that their rental business could be undermined.
California’s housing crisis is a hot topic for both residents and lawmakers — and for good reason, too. Earlier this year, the California Department of Housing and Community Development published a report that uncovered a pretty bleak future for the state’s housing. According to the report, about 1.8 million new homes need to be built between 2015 and 2025 to meet the state’s projected population growth.
May 16, 2017
Earlier this year, three California Assemblymembers — Richard Bloom, David Chiu & Rob Bonta — took Sacramento by surprise, introducing AB 1506 to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Recent grassroots organizing by tenant groups laid the groundwork for this important legislation. Since 2015, numerous cities have been organizing for rent control, and in that time tenants in Richmond, San Jose, Union City, and Mountain View have already won new protections.
May 16, 2017
A new report by state housing advocates quantifies the woes affecting Sonoma County’s rental market, including how far rents have outpaced incomes. Sonoma County’s median renter saw wages decline 6 percent from 2000 to 2015, when adjusted for inflation, according to the California Housing Partnership. In the same period, the county’s median rent increased 16 percent. The gap, derived from U.S. Census data, resulted in a net decline in overall purchasing power of $5,580 for the median renter, whose annual income was $49,921.
On a drizzly day in early February, state representative Will Guzzardi stood in front of a group of housing activists and community organizers in Bronzeville to announce his new bill, which is just seven words long: "The Rent Control Preemption Act is repealed." The act, he said, was passed in 1997 by state legislators in fear of "the bogeyman of rent control." Days after the announcement, it became clear that the bogeyman is alive and well, as Guzzardi was inundated with a flood of protest e-mails and calls ominously predicting that his bill would spell the end of development and rehab of
The largest private landlord in Oakland began his trial on Monday, both inside and out of federal court on Clay Street. As Michael Marr walked into court on the day jury selection commenced in the government’s case accusing him of rigging foreclosure auctions, he was greeted by his angry East Oakland tenants, who say the trial only tells part of his misdeeds. Marr, who owns more than 300 properties, mostly in Oakland’s flatlands, is one of four men accused of working together to suppress the prices of bids on foreclosed homes at courthouse auctions.
The city of Los Angeles has lost 21,200 rent- stabilized housing units since 2001, according to an interactive map released Monday by a nonprofit tenant advocacy group. The Coalition for Economic Survival produced the map in conjunction with the San Francisco-based Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to show where units have been lost through Ellis Act evictions that allow landlords to exit the rental market under certain conditions.
Real estate interests upped the ante in their already high-stakes fight against Santa Rosa’s rent control law, pumping another $334,000 last week into the record-breaking campaign against Measure C. Opponents of the city’s rent control law ordinance, which is suspended until voters weigh in during the June 6 referendum, have now blown away all political fundraising records for a city race, raising $815,791 to date.
The last time the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a rent-control ordinance was at the close of the Jimmy Carter administration in 1979. It lasted five years, and by the end of Ronald Reagan’s first term, in 1984, the County abolished rent control. Within the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, rent control hasn’t been heard from since — not until last week, that is, when Supervisors Hilda Solís and Sheila Kuehl introduced a motion clearing the way for new protections for tenants in gentrifying areas of unincorporated East L.A.
The trial of Michael Marr and two of his business associates, Gregory Casorso and Javier Sanchez, began today at a federal courthouse in Oakland. Marr, Casorso, and Sanchez are accused of rigging public auctions of foreclosed homes during the Great Recession. Starting in 2008, Marr's company, Community Realty, purchased hundreds of single family homes at auctions held on courthouse steps in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. In the process, Marr became one of the biggest landlords in Oakland.
Welcome to another episode of the top-rated game show, “Who Can Really Afford to Rent in the Bay Area?” I’m your host, It Beats the Heck Out of Me. On the last episode, the audience got to play the role of a distressed renter attempting to survive while living in poor conditions and working for low wages. On today’s episode, the audience gets to play the role of a distressed renter attempting to survive in a city where a landlord will brazenly demolish your apartment before you can move out.
Expensive rent prices in Santa Barbara is not breaking news. However, the housing crisis never ceases to be a buzzing topic in the city. According to the most recent census report, 60% of Santa Barbara residents are renters.