News and Views
July 31, 2017
Most days, Linda Trevino and her husband Angel wake up around 7 a.m. She'll brew a fresh pot of coffee while he scans the local alt-weekly. After taking their two dogs out for a quick walk, Linda and Angel will sit at their modest Formica kitchen table, quietly sipping from their mugs and watching morning television.
An ordinance that would prevent landlords from evicting tenants on month-to-month leases without just cause is one of the strategies that Marin supervisors will consider Tuesday when they review their progress in preserving housing affordability and preventing displacement. A “just cause” ordinance is one of several of options that county planning staff will present to the Board of Supervisors when it meets at 5:30 p.m. at the Marin County Civic Center.
As Bay Area residents continue to face high housing costs, tenants and community activists are calling on corporate landlords to stop rent increases and for support in broadening rent control legislation. Merika Reagan, an East Oakland resident who owns a pet care and dog walking business, is part of Housing Now! — a statewide coalition of more than 50 tenants rights groups, labor unions, community organizations, housing advocates and small landlords — who are fighting to make housing more affordable.
El Cerrito also wants to encourage homeowners to build smaller accessory units on their property or adding space to their homes that they could be rented out, by easing development restrictions and parking requirements. The Planning Commission two weeks ago threw out suggestions for the final draft, including binding or nonbinding mediation for landlords and tenants, enacting a just cause for eviction ordinance and exploring crowd funding to provide first and last month’s rent and security deposits for low-income tenants, along with other ideas.
Activists erected a mock tent city outside the Grove shopping complex on Friday afternoon while calling on city leaders to create more affordable housing in Los Angeles. "You may think this will never happen to you," said Section 8 housing resident Emily Martiniuk, who lost her job and then her home several years ago. "And please believe me, I hope it doesn't. But it happened to me." Protester Dina Brown, of the nonprofit group L.A. L.O.V.E., wore a T-shirt that read "Gentrification is Warfare."
National City residents called for rent control laws and demanded more affordable housing Thursday. Community groups, tenants and other allies launched a campaign for local rent control and just cause eviction protections, according to the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. The group met at the 130 block of East 8th Street at noon to call for change in their city.
July 27, 2017
Contact: Anya Svanoe firstname.lastname@example.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, July 27th, 2017 Statewide Day of Action to Repeal Statewide Restriction of Rent Control - Costa Hawkins Act
July 23, 2017
Few facets of our society offer a better display of the depravity of capitalism than the housing industry. Recently, the Grenfell Tower tragedy killed hundreds of poor people and displaced hundreds more in London. In the United States, we have also seen the displacement of thousands, if not millions, in the wake of the financial crisis. While entire city blocks lay vacant, people sleep on the street or bounce from place to place in search of permanent housing.
Help may be on the way for the 80 poor people being evicted from a downtown apartment building Modesto is condemning. Social service agencies will meet this week with the tenants, and a Bay Area attorney says he expects to sue the landlord on behalf of the tenants. Modesto has declared the two-story building of 27 studio apartments unfit and unsafe for occupancy.
July 13, 2017
It was a brutally hot and humid day in the nation’s capital and Margie Mathers needed a cane to get up to the podium, but the Florida senior had a story she was determined to tell. “When I moved into our manufactured housing community in North Fort Myers, it was a beautiful, peaceful place,” Mathers told the crowd of around 1,000 activists who’d converged on the city for a July 13 Tenant March on Washington. “Now I have neighbors who are really struggling. They’re taking their medications every other day instead of every day and not eating the food they need to be healthy.”
July 12, 2017
At a packed meeting Tuesday night, the Fremont City Council backed off from pursuing rent control measures after weighing options and hearing from dozens of landlords and tenants. While Councilman Vinnie Bacon said he favors aggressive rent control and eviction protection measures, he was alone. Councilmen David Bonaccorsi and Raj Salwan said they would prefer to strengthen the city’s existing resolution program, which mediates rent increase disputes between landlords and tenants.
July 12, 2017
Nearly a decade after the housing market’s collapse, California’s real estate market has bounced back — and then some. The median price for a two-bedroom rental in San Francisco, depending on what report is used, ranges from roughly $3,000 a month to well over $4,000. The median home-sale price in the state, says the California Association of Realtors, is over $536,000.
July 12, 2017
Everyone has their own definition of rich. Living in an average, two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles probably doesn't figure in anyone's approximation of contemporary wealth. Yet technically speaking, those who can afford such accommodation are wealthy.
“Good morning, this is 2015 Properties in Santa Monica. How may I help you?” “Good morning, sir. My name is Ellie Ramirez and I’m calling about the one bedroom apartment in Sunset Park that’s advertised on Craigslist.” “You’re in luck, Ellie. It’s still available and I’m the manager, Craig Perry. “The rent is $1,900 a month,” Craig adds. “When we run your credit report, will we see that you can afford that?” “Oh, yes,” replies Ellie. “I work part-time and just got a Section 8 housing voucher so I can afford up to—”
City officials have started to more seriously discuss imposing a tax on vacancies. Supervisor Aaron Peskin requested the City Attorney’s Office on Tuesday “to explore legislation that would allow the city and county San Francisco to impose a vacancy tax on property owners to help mitigate the impacts of the widespread practice of warehousing valuable residential and commercial units.”
Oakland Looks to Close Owner Move-In and Occupancy Loopholes, Reduce Evictions and Harmful Rent Increases
July 11, 2017
A key committee of the Oakland City Council approved the first step in drafting stronger protections against bogus owner move-in evictions today. The Community and Economic Development Committee voted unanimously in favor of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan's request to have the city's rent board study the problem and come up with solutions that will better protect renters.
July 11, 2017
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved two pieces of legislation intended to keep lower- and middle-class residents in the city, each requiring a hard-won compromise between the board’s moderate and progressive wings. The first law lays out several proof-of-residency requirements for landlords who evict their tenants, saying they want to occupy a dwelling themselves. The supervisors approved it unanimously on the first reading. It is expected to come back for final passage next week.
Tenants who rent homes from one of America’s largest corporate landlords are asking the company to stop increasing their rent and address what they say is endemic neglect of the properties.
July 5, 2017
Effective Sept. 1, landlords of about 10,000 rent-controlled units in Richmond will be able to increase rents by no more than 3.4 percent, and must file notice with the City’s Rent Board if they intend to do so, according to the June 30 City Manager’s report. Tasked with administering the City’s relatively new rent control policy, the Richmond Rent Board released its 2017 annual general adjustment that caps rent increases to about 3 percent each year.
The San Diego Housing Commission and area elected officials Wednesday kicked off a three-year, $80 million program to provide more housing for the area's burgeoning homeless population. The new phase of the commission's Housing First-San Diego plan involves six initiatives, which include giving incentives to landlords to rent to people who are homeless, providing more than 700 housing vouchers, constructing more affordable housing and voucher-eligible housing units, and assisting 600 more families that become homeless because of a sudden change like loss of a job.