News and Views

September 21, 2016
WHEN ELENORE WILLIAMS' family of seven moved into a new apartment in 2013 and found it infested with fleas, she says, management’s response was to give her a bottle of Hot Shot insect killer spray. “The landlord did not make repairs,” Williams wrote in court documents. “[The] dishwasher hasn’t worked [in] over a year, my son caught a skin disease called PLEVA from the fleas biting him... Mold in [the] bathroom has not gotten done, which caused my son to [begin] taking a steroid inhaler.”
  • Rent control
  • Tenant organizing
  • Eviction
September 16, 2016
The article, “Rent control spreading to Bay Area suburbs, to economists’ dismay,” (Sept. 10, 2016), to our dismay does not quote a single economist who has evaluated the ballot measures in question. In fact, economists have not objectively studied rent control as it exists in California. Decades ago economists weighed in on New York’s “classic” rent control and haven’t taken a serious look at the policy since.
  • Rent control
September 14, 2016
Good news! Governor Jerry Brown just signed AB 2819* to protect the privacy, credit, and reputation of tenants who are involved in eviction lawsuits.
  • Credit blacklisting
Nearly 400 tenants eduated on their rights so far... by Sara Linck-Frenz, Hotline & Volunteer Coordinator
The recent decision by federal housing officials to reject a local measure aimed at easing the effects of San Francisco’s housing crisis on low-income and minority residents will further displace some of the city’s most vulnerable communities, the city’s top lawyer said. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) denial of San Francisco’s neighborhood preference plan “is wrong as a matter of law and public policy,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera wrote in a letter to HUD Secretary Julián Castro on Thursday.
  • Discrimination
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
A writ of possession (eviction notice) lay on top of the kitchen counter inside apartment 44 of a multi housing complex located at 2995 Mountain Avenue in San Bernardino. Left behind were empty bottles of liquor, several packages of top-ramen soups, and graffiti with the statement, “YB Nation” scrawled on the walls throughout. Weeks ago on June 6, the apartment’s occupant Branden Ross was evicted, according to San Bernardino County court documents. He’s among several dozen residents who have been removed by property management company MR Investments in the past year and a half.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • San Bernardino
The Glendale City Council will try to tackle the issue of fast-rising rents by securing tenants longer leases to avoid having to suddenly move because of a rent spike and possibly requiring landlords to pay for moving expenses. The direction to city staff came Tuesday night during the latest discussion on the topic of rent affordability.
  • Rent increases
  • Los Angeles
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

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