News and Views

Los Angeles lawmakers voted Friday to allow a pair of Beverly Grove apartment buildings to be converted into condominiums, overriding the objections of tenant activists who argue that flawed data is fueling the elimination of sorely needed rental units. The furor over the buildings comes as activists and lawmakers have raised concerns about how the city gauges the vacancy rate — a crucial figure for deciding whether apartments can be converted into condos.
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Ellis Act
  • Los Angeles
As I wrote in the Spring of 2016, grounded for 35 years in the Sunset District, Mariella Morales is braced with Pachamama beliefs from her childhood in Peru, that humans are bound to live in a manner that supports a sustainable future that works for all. Mariella says she will not let the newly-rich displace her from the wooden floors and the backyard earth she and her children have walked on for more than three decades
  • Ellis Act
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
June 29, 2017
Cities Diverge on Housing Three recently enacted measures have transformed San Francisco into the Bay Area leader for addressing housing affordability. Meanwhile, Berkeley is in full retreat. At its June 27 meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed two critical pieces of housing affordability legislation. First, it cracked down on owner move in eviction scams by allowing nonprofit enforcement against wrongdoers. Second, it passed the new inclusionary rules that the Board had agreed to earlier in June.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
But all those new homes came from projects approved before 2012 that home builders are just now putting on the market. And the city has turned away other developers interested in building housing where the city’s plan said they could, Perez said. Since early 2015, Foster City’s median home value has increased 13% to a record $1.5 million, more than seven times the national average.
  • Affordable housing
Boyle Heights tenants facing eviction for refusing to pay rent increases of up to 80 percent will be protesting outside their apartment complex on Wednesday, joined by other renters fed up with skyrocketing housing costs. Tenants at 1815 E. 2nd St., just a block away from Mariachi Plaza, said they started receiving eviction notices on Saturday, after communications with their landlord broke down. Five of the seven households ordered to leave include mariachis.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Los Angeles
San Francisco clamped down on fraudulent owner move-in evictions Tuesday and after a six-month debate adopted new affordable housing requirements for developers — two issues that began with sharp political division but ended in unanimous votes. Still, there was a lengthy debate over the details of how to crack down on illegal owner move-in evictions, and a narrow 6-5 vote rejected a tougher restriction on tenant buyout agreements.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
With a unanimous vote approving significant changes to the city’s housing laws, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signaled Tuesday it intends to crack down on landlords who illegally evict tenants in order to turn a larger profit.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) is attempting to limit Marin County’s affordable housing regulations more than any other county in California with a provision called Assembly Bill 121. The bill was attached to the state budget, which has already been approved, meaning it does not have to stand up to scrutiny at the committee stage. Marin County has an average household income of $133,128, compared to the 2015 national average of $56,516. The Los Angeles Times reports that wealth disparity between the rich and poor in Marin County is one of the largest in the state.
  • Affordable housing
  • Marin
June 28, 2017
Local politics is always, in one way or another, about housing. In San Francisco, a deep blue city whose fault lines long ago ceased to resemble America’s, that politics is a vitriolic civic scrimmage, where people who agree about almost every national issue make sworn enemies over zoning, demolition, and development. It’s like a circular firing squad at a co-op meeting.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the process can be simple. In many cases in Los Angeles, and across California, property owners only have to state they are ending the lease. No justification is needed — only notices of at least 30 days to provide some time to move out. Now, amid an affordable housing shortage and reports that low-income tenants are being displaced for wealthier renters, Los Angeles is exploring whether to require landlords to show “just cause” to evict, reasons that would include damaging a unit, creating a nuisance or not paying rent.
  • Eviction
  • Los Angeles
San Francisco will not be allowed to require landlords who go out of the rental business to pay their evicted tenants as much as $50,000 to cover the higher rents they’ll face on the open market. A ruling striking down a city ordinance that would have mandated the payments became final Wednesday when the state Supreme Court declined to review it.
  • Ellis Act
  • San Francisco
A change to the city’s rent ordinance aimed at giving tenants protection from unfair evictions is now on hold after landlords submitted a petition to the City Clerk that supports putting the issue on the ballot. A total of 4,808 of the approximately 7,300 signatures on the petition must be verified as from registered Alameda voters before the City Council can opt to remove the amendment, or ask voters to decide whether it should remain.
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
First They Came for the Homeless, a group protesting the criminalization of homelessness, has camped out at the “Here There” sign at the Berkeley-Oakland border for several months. The lifespan of the tent city is notable in the wake of a string of clear-outs of the group’s previous encampments.
  • Alameda
Finally, after several years of punishing rent hikes, the pain is finally coming to an end for renters across the country. Except in Seattle. New reports show that rents throughout the Seattle area continue to surge at among the highest rates in the country. Meanwhile, other pricey cities like New York and San Francisco are now seeing rents drop, while the average U.S. rent has basically remained flat.
  • Rent increases
  • Beyond California
About 15 Glendale residents — mostly renters and at least one property owner — gathered last week for the third time to form the early makings of a group called the Glendale Tenants Union, an organized voice for tenant issues to professionally counter landlords in a city where about two-thirds of its residents are renters. The meeting was led by former Glendale City Council candidate and renter Mike Van Gorder, along with fellow renters Karen Kwak and John Bagdzhyan, in the community room at Fire Station 21, near downtown.
  • Tenant organizing
  • Los Angeles
By many measures, the effort to convert old elevated railway on Chicago’s Northwest Side into a signature park has been a smashing success. The 2.7-mile recreation trail, known as The 606, built on old Chicago & Pacific Railroad line has been praised as a model use of public space since it opened two years ago. It's regularly packed with bikers, joggers and walkers.
  • Beyond California
A Santa Monica tenant facing an eviction threat after installing a Ring doorbell on her front door will be allowed to stay in her home and keep the device, thanks to an intervention by the CEO of Ring himself. Ring is a Santa Monica-based home surveillance company lead by Jamie Siminoff. Shortly after the Santa Monica Daily Press published a story about a single mom receiving an eviction notice for installing a Ring camera, Siminoff gave Jessica Katz a call.
  • Eviction
  • Los Angeles
A plan for 10,000 new housing units in the North Bayshore development set to feature a huge new Google campus has been slashed to include as few as 1,500 units. A draft plan released by the city in October called for creation of three new neighborhoods totaling 154 acres with 9,850 housing units, 20 percent of them classed as “affordable.”
  • Santa Clara
In the expensive housing markets of northern California, a growing number of cities are making it tougher for landlords to displace tenants by requiring they justify their evictions. Now Los Angeles, with its own housing affordability crisis, may follow their lead. The City Council's housing panel on Wednesday advanced a proposal that would bar evictions except for just cause — such as when tenants don't pay rent, become a nuisance or damage property. Right now, landlords of market-rate properties in L.A. don't have to give a reason for removing tenants.
  • Eviction
  • Los Angeles
Low-income renters who are displaced from their homes tend to experience many adverse impacts in other areas of their lives, a recent study that focused on San Mateo County residents shows. Such displaced renters are left with fewer job options and health services, longer commutes and greater environmental and safety concerns, according to a study by researchers Justine Marcus and Mirian Zuk with U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • San Mateo

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