News and Views
April 17, 2017
Implementation of rent control victories…
Despite ranking as one of the costliest rental markets in the nation, San Jose is the last major Bay Area city that lets landlords evict renters without citing a reason — but that could change under sweeping new tenant protections city leaders will consider Tuesday. Amid mounting pressure from renters, tenant groups and housing activists — including stories of hundreds of renters being kicked out of The Reserve apartments and dozens more evicted at the hands of one landlord — elected leaders are expected to approve some changes.
April 15, 2017
After 24 hours with no food and with about 100 more to go, hunger striker Jocelin Hernandez on Saturday said it’s a small price to pay to bring attention to an issue that’s too often dodged: renters’ rights in a housing market so hot that it’s frying people out of their homes. “This isn’t a political issue anymore — it’s a health issue,” Hernandez said. “We’ve tried everything else and are hoping this will get them to pay more attention.”
April 14, 2017
Auctioning off an apartment to the highest bidder may sound like a nightmare to those struggling to find a home in Los Angeles' tight rental market. But landlords and property managers can do exactly that with the help of digital tools from tech startups. Companies like Rentberry, Biddwell and the L.A.-based Property Connect have created websites and mobile apps that allow prospective tenants to place bids on apartments.
Rent control advocates failed to win over Concord’s City Council last year, but a proposed ordinance designed to keep rent hikes below 10 percent is picking up traction in the suburban city of about 125,000 people.
April 14, 2017
Under pressure from the California Apartment Association and other real estate interests, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has put on hold a bill that seeks to increase renter protections amid California’s widening housing crisis. Bloom wants to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law passed in 1995 that curtails the type of housing covered under local rental control laws and prevents cities from strengthening tenant protections for renters.
After listening to the concerns of distressed senior citizens living in the city’s mobile home parks, the San Juan Capistrano City Council unanimously agreed to continue halting mobile home park owners’ attempts to convert their senior parks to all-age residents. The Council voted 5-0 on April 4 to add six more months to a temporary moratorium on the conversion of any seniors-only mobile home parks to all-age parks, giving staff time to draft an ordinance amending the city’s current regulations regarding seniors-only parks.
April 14, 2017
They say the deals take advantage of those unable to afford spiralling rents and "go as close to the edge of the law…without breaking [it]". Websites hosting adverts for such offers are being urged to tackle the problem. As young people and the low-paid are priced out of accommodation, particularly in south-east England, "sex for rent" adverts have sprung up online. One classified advertising site, Craigslist carried more than 100 such listings in a single day, a BBC investigation found.
April 13, 2017
For the past two weeks, Javier Delgadillo has been on the go. In between his full-time job managing a car parts distribution company, his duties as a softball team dad and raising two teenagers, the East Bay native spends much of his spare free time reading the city’s rental housing laws and phoning or fielding calls from tenant advocacy groups, the city and legal organizations so his family can stay in their home.
Both the landlord and main tenant of 2551 San Pablo Avenue are deflecting responsibility of who was in charge of keeping the building safe before March’s deadly West Oakland fire. Keith Kim is the owner of the building. Kim and his family hired spokesman Sam Singer to speak on their behalf. In an interview with 2 Investigates, Singer said the family is heartbroken about what happened.
April 13, 2017
Last year, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission selected Bryan Valenzuela as one of two locals to create public art for the new Kings arena. Today, you can witness his sculpture—blown-glass spheres suspended midair—inside the Golden 1 Center. During arena-christening festivities, politicians thanked him and other creative-class denizens for giving Sacramento its artistic soul. And then, at the end of 2016, his landlord thanked him—with an eviction notice.
In 13 Years, Pasadena's Tenant Protection Rules Only Protected 91 Tenants. Now the City Is Trying to Fix That
April 9, 2017
Pasadena’s City Council fixed a loophole in the city’s Tenant Protection Ordinance this week and expanded the number of renters who qualify, but the ordinance still does not offer protections to most of the tenants in the city. Roughly one-half of Pasadena’s residents rent their homes, but only 91 tenants have benefitted from the Tenant Protection Ordinance in the last 13 years. The average rent in Pasadena is $2,515 per month, according to a report released in March. WHO IS PROTECTED
In immigrant-heavy neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, community groups have seen a marked uptick in landlords exploiting immigration fears to threaten tenants since the election. Unscrupulous landlords who threaten to call immigration authorities on undocumented tenants are not a new phenomenon, but, as first reported at CityLab, there appears to be a growing trend across California of landlords capitalizing on immigration fears to illegally raise rents or evict tenants.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday against the city of Maplewood, Missouri, over a policy that allegedly evicts domestic violence victims and banishes them from the St. Louis suburb if they call police for help more than twice in six months.
April 7, 2017
In the city of Maplewood, Missouri, calling 911 to report violence in your home can get you evicted for being a “nuisance.” Rosetta Watson, a survivor of domestic abuse, learned this the hard way after she called police multiple times between September 2011 and February 2012 to report her former boyfriend. In one incident, she has said, he kicked open her front door and attacked her in her bed, punching her in the face.
Holding powerful signs and photos of displaced renters, dozens of angry tenants and housing advocates took to the streets Thursday to send a powerful message to City Hall — stop letting landlords evict people for no reason. “If we don’t get no ‘just-cause,’ they don’t get no peace,” they chanted, walking from Shasta Avenue to the local offices of the California Apartment Association, which has opposed policies that require landlords to provide a legitimate reason for evictions.
Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, a Los Angeles tenant advocacy group, said that despite the delay, the bill’s introduction in itself has created the possibility of changes once considered far-fetched. Before AB 1506, the only repeal bill submitted was one in 2000 that never came up for a vote, according to Bloom’s office. “It’s the beginning of a groundswell,” Gross said.
Shirley Gibson’s client was in jeopardy. A mother of three living in San Mateo County in California, the woman had obtained a restraining order against her children’s father for domestic abuse. Her landlord took the opportunity to demand that she sign a new, higher lease. She pleaded with him to let her take the document to an attorney. “Legally, a victim of domestic violence isn’t required to agree to new lease terms or agree to pay more rent, just because they’re a victim,” says Gibson, directing attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.
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.