News and Views

At first, Jamie Kahn tried ignoring the repeated knocks on her front door. It was September 2015, and the 52-year-old Santa Cruz woman had recently faced an unexpected 40% rent increase that she could not afford. After missing a rent payment, her new landlords in the northern California beach city quickly moved to evict the single mother and her two children. Kahn thought that if she refused to open the door and accept a summons, she could bide some time to fight the increase from $1,400 to $2,000 a month. She was wrong.
  • Rent increases
  • Santa Cruz
The gentrification wars have a dangerous new weapon: invasive surveillance technology.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Credit blacklisting
  • Discrimination
A group of investors who recently purchased an Oakland residential hotel — and who have been accused of harassing the tenants to drive them out of their homes — pledged in court today to immediately repair demolished bathrooms in the building. "Construction will start immediately," said Kate Morrow, an attorney representing the investor group that purchased the building last year.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Alameda
Construction workers, cashiers and janitors are moving out of Washington, D.C., while doctors, economists and software developers are moving in. As the cost of housing increases in the city, it’s part of a larger trend, says the District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA), which has low-wage workers fleeing for the suburbs, and higher-wage workers flocking to urban cores.
  • Beyond California
With the heated debate over tenant protection measures fueled by the region’s housing crisis now slated to dominate San Mateo’s November election, proponents and opponents of a citizens’ initiative to institute rent control outlined their ballot arguments.
  • Rent control
  • San Mateo
City officials oppose Measure R, the ballot initiative attempting to establish rent control in Burlingame, due to concerns the proposed policy is too far-reaching and rife with potential legislative pitfalls, according to the ballot argument.
  • Rent control
  • San Mateo
Los Angeles’ housing agency has scrapped a proposal for a 6 percent rent hike at a city-owned, senior apartment building in Eagle Rock. Following a city hearing last week which drew angry seniors, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles announced Tuesday that rents will rise 3 percent this year instead of 6 percent at Reflections on Yosemite, a 1970s-era building on Yosemite Drive. Citing “concerns expressed by our residents,” HACLA said rents will rise just 3 percent, in line with allowable increases under the city’s rent control law.
  • Rent increases
  • Los Angeles
The Willie B. Kennedy Apartments are exactly what the neighbors have been wanting: new affordable housing in a market with little of it, homes for seniors in a city flush with young tech, real investment in a historically black part of town that has long been losing its black population.
  • San Francisco
Attempts to craft an end-of-session affordable-housing package are “dead” for the year, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said Thursday, saying there continues to be intense opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to relax local land-use rules in return for $400 million for housing projects. “I don’t think there’s any support in our caucus for the … proposal as the architecture was rendered by the governor,” said Rendon, D-Paramount.
August 17, 2016
It's likely the Governor's developer giveaway to streamline 80-90% market-rate housing construction is 
  • Legislative victories/defeats
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Affordable housing
When Los Angeles landlords seek to remove tenants from rent-controlled properties, they’re required by law to compensate their renters. But in a heated housing market, some landlords simply offer a sum of cash to get the renter out. The practice is called “cash for keys,” and is sometimes unethical because tenants don’t get the full amount afforded to them under the law and mistakenly think they’re getting a deal.
  • Los Angeles
A really bad housing bill that Gov. Jerry Brown has been pushing may be dead for now – but opponents are keeping a close eye on the Legislative leadership, where strange things happen at the last minute. The guv wants to allow anyone to build housing anywhere in the state without the normal local community oversight. It would set a very low minimum for affordable housing, and block the ability of community groups and local government to demand and negotiate better deals.
August 16, 2016
After two years of being homeless, napping in stores open all night and more recently staying in a convent in Harlem, Margot Miller found out in March that her luck was about to change: She had qualified for an apartment for low-income older adults. “This is to inform you that a rental unit has become available,” the letter from the building’s owner, Prince Hall Plaza, began. Elated, Ms. Miller, 68, said she immediately went to the building’s office to claim the apartment. But after a background check, she said, the building reversed course.
  • Credit blacklisting
Residents of an Oakland Chinatown SRO won some relief in court today against their landlord who they accuse of engaging in a campaign of harassment to drive them out of their homes. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman ordered the landlord to immediately restore certain services that had been removed, and to quickly repair bathrooms that have been completely demolished and left inoperable for six months.
  • Alameda
Santa Rosa enacted the strongest protections for renters in Sonoma County Tuesday, imposing a long-term rent control program and requiring that landlords have a good reason to evict tenants. Long divided on the polarizing issue, the City Council voted 4-2 in favor of the program, which builds on a temporary moratorium on rent increases in place since June. Mayor John Sawyer, who previously voiced strong opposition to rent control, abstained from the vote because he is a landlord. A decision on whether he has a conflict of interest is pending.
  • Rent control
  • Sonoma
Members of several tenant advocacy groups congregated at the front steps of City Hall on Monday, Aug. 8, to voice their displeasure with the evictions and other harassment taking place at Bay View Apartments.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
Homeowners in San Diego County may not feel it, but a housing crisis is underway in the region, and the middle class is especially hard squeezed. Longtime Escondido resident Guy Chandler faced a situation that may be all too familiar to many San Diego families. He described what happened at a recent San Diego County Board of Supervisors' meeting.
  • San Diego
Major labor, environmental and tenants groups have walked away from negotiations over Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to streamline approval for housing developments that include setting aside a percentage of units for low-income Californians, further imperiling the plan’s chances of passing this year.
Tennant-activists are suing the city of Los Angeles after local lawmakers paved the way for a Hollywood apartment building to be converted into a boutique hotel. The Los Angeles City Council rejected an appeal against the planned makeover of the Cherokee Avenue building earlier this year, approving the environmental review for the project. At the time, tenant-activists argued that the city had failed to properly consider how turning the vacant building into a hotel would affect the neighborhood, especially as renters grappled with a housing crisis.
  • Los Angeles
For a long time, owning your own home was a key milestone in Britain. Like leaving school or losing your virginity, it was another box to be ticked on the journey through life. But that was then, and this is now, an age of uncertainty where everything we knew to expect can no longer be taken for granted.

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