News and Views
Tenants of the San Pablo Avenue apartment building destroyed by a fire early this morning were resisting a controversial eviction, according to court records and interviews. The residents even obtained a restraining order against the building's landlord. And, now, their lawyer is calling for an arson investigation. Records also show that the West Oakland building's dangerous conditions were known to the landlord, master tenant, the City of Oakland, and other authorities.
March 27, 2017
The San Pablo Avenue residential building where Monday’s early morning blaze claimed at least three lives had a history of code violations, a growing reputation as a “deathtrap” and a landlord working to evict dozens of tenants in a contentious housing battle.
March 25, 2017
Corona officials could pursue voluntary rent control for trailer parks in an effort to help elderly and impoverished residents facing 30 percent rent hikes over two years. The City Council is expected to have an April 26 study session after individual members tried for a year to find a compromise between those living at Corona La Linda Mobile Home Park, where most residents are low-income Latinos, and Kort & Scott Financial Group in Anaheim, which bought the trailer park in June 2015.
March 25, 2017
Did they raise the rent? If you live in a Long Beach apartment or rental home, the answer just might be an emphatic, “Yes!” According to Apartment List, a San Francisco-based online group that analyzes trends in rental housing, Long Beach last month cracked its list of the 10 large U.S. cities with the steepest rent increases over the past year.
Ana Navarro lives with her husband and two young children in a 450-square-foot apartment. The kids — ages 10 and 3 — share a bedroom that’s more like a glorified closet.
March 24, 2017
Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s bill that would allow for the return of extreme rental housing price control eliminated two decades ago has received a mixed reaction statewide. But his bill has the full support of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board. The board voted unanimously Thursday to endorse Bloom’s proposal (AB 1506). The board also endorsed another of Bloom's bills, AB 982, that would require landlords to provide a one-year notice to tenants before evicting them under the Ellis Act, which allows property owners to get out of the rental business.
March 24, 2017
The Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance Friday prohibiting landlords from denying renters because they have a Section 8 housing voucher. Section 8 is a government program aimed to increase affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing. The measure passed Friday is intended to put voucher holders on equal footing with other people seeking housing options in Minneapolis.
The cost to rent an apartment in Southern California continues to rise and tenants at one apartment complex in Boyle Heights fought back on Wednesday. More than 20 tenants said they received a letter from Crescent Canyon Management informing them that their rent would be increasing effective April 1. "We're trying to understand how someone can go and deliver a notice for an $800 rent increase and then run away and hide and not talk about it," Elizabeth Blaney with the Los Angeles Tenants Union said.
March 21, 2017
As California activists mobilize against Trump’s planned elimination of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Veteran’s Homeless programs (the USICH), these efforts must not obscure a critical question: when will California’s Democratic-controlled legislature start helping the state’s tenants? Consider: 1. Democrats have not enacted a single major piece of pro-tenant legislation since 2003 despite controlling the Senate and Assembly;
March 20, 2017
The June referendum vote on Santa Rosa’s rent control ordinance is shaping up to be an expensive — and likely lopsided — brawl. Landlords and groups representing them, mostly from outside Santa Rosa, have donated at least $390,000 to date for a political committee opposing the city’s law. That’s compared to about $68,000 raised by supporters of the city’s rent control law, which seeks to cap rent increases on older apartments at 3 percent annually and protect renters against unfair evictions.
March 19, 2017
As rental rates climb and the vacancy rate bottoms out, the City of Santa Barbara will consider a number of measures for a potential rent-regulation ordinance. On the table at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting will be rent control, just-cause evictions, mandatory leases, safety inspections for multifamily residential buildings and enhanced tenant-landlord mediation resources.
March 19, 2017
California lawmakers have introduced more than 130 bills this year that try to tackle the state’s housing affordability crisis. Reams of statistics support the depth of the problem: California’s homeownership rate is at its lowest since World War II, a third of renters spend more than half of their income on housing costs and the state has nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless residents — despite having 12% of the overall U.S. population.
March 18, 2017
Even as officials say affordable housing is a top priority, San Diego County shed more subsidized rental housing over the past two decades than all but two other California counties. That's according to a report released last week by the California Housing Partnership Corporation, which found the county lost 3,588 federal- and state-subsidized housing units between 1995 and 2016 — an average of more than three affordable rentals per week. That left 32,807 affordable housing units countywide, according to the San Francisco-based housing nonprofit.
When visitors want to experience this city’s much celebrated “alternative” culture, they often make their way to Heinrichplatz, a graffiti-covered square in the Kreuzberg neighborhood that for decades has been a hub for independent arts, underground night life and radical politics. But on a recent Saturday afternoon, the usual clusters of selfie-snapping tourists and cafegoers were met by hundreds of demonstrators carrying signs that read, “We’re all staying” or “Say no to crowding out,” and protesting rising rents, forced evictions and rampant real estate speculation.
Amid California’s housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s. A bill that would do so, introduced last month, marks the most significant move yet in a growing movement to cap skyrocketing rents as California’s economy booms and housing production lags.
March 17, 2017
Cuts to affordable housing funding in President Donald Trump's proposed budget would be devastating to California, Democratic state lawmakers said Friday, stressing that the White House's plans increase pressure on them to address the state's housing crisis. Trump's budget blueprint calls for more than $6 billion in cuts to the federal Housing and Urban Development Department, including eliminating Community Development Block Grants and reducing money for public housing.
In his 92 years, Paul Mayer has survived World War II. He’s battled skin cancer and congestive heart failure. But it’s the fight to keep his apartment of 44 years that he fears he’ll lose. He has until April 4 to clear out. “I’d be willing to pay more rent if we could work something out with them,” Mayer said on a recent afternoon, surrounded by 1970s furniture and family photos inside his studio apartment on Magliocco Avenue. “But they didn’t even bother. They just said, ‘Get out.’ And I don’t know where to go.”
March 13, 2017
San Diego is the second worst market for renters in the country. That’s the word from Forbes’ 2017 ranking of 46 metropolitan areas, where only Miami is worse. Analysts factored in San Diego’s monthly apartment rent ($1,748), vacancy rate (3.1 percent), annual rent increase (4.8 percent) and the portion of income spent on rent (30 percent). In fact, six regions in California — San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside-San Bernardino, Oakland and Sacramento — ranked among the 10 worst.
Evictions from live/work spaces in Oakland continue with alarming frequency in the wake of December’s Ghost Ship fire, despite efforts by city leaders to work with landlords to prevent displacement in a city where affordable housing is a rare commodity. “We are facing evictions weekly. The number of spaces out there that are untouched are decreasing,” said Tom Dolan, an architect and author of Oakland’s regulations governing warehouse conversions into legal live/work spaces.
California is home to over 16 million renters, 45% of the population, and the majority of us are low-income people of color. A disproportionate number of women with children and people of color are targeted for eviction and displacement and that number has increased with the foreclosure crisis and today as speculation on land and housing intensifies. We are demanding an end to evictions and rent increases, and the investment in deeply affordable housing.