News and Views

A proposal to jumpstart housing construction in California is nearing a vote in the state legislature, and housing advocates say they are working against the clock to convince lawmakers in Sacramento to change some of the fine print in the bill.
August 3, 2016
Rent control laws in the city of Paris are doing exactly what they were designed to do. That’s what France’s Minister for Housing, Emmanuelle Cosse, has been saying in recent celebratory interviews to the French media. It’s been roughly a year since France put in place strict restrictions on rent rises in Paris and other “strained zones” across the country. And while it’s Cosse’s job to defend legislation introduced by her government, there is indeed evidence in the past year’s figures to back up the assertion that the law changes are doing their job.
August 3, 2016
The buildings have names like “Lorenzo” and “Medici,” usually plastered across the five-story stucco edifices in oversized Papyrus font cutouts made of bronze. They’re decorated with columns and fountains and details that architecture critics dismissively call “fauxtalian.” As this city has become more pedestrian-friendly and conscious of its street life, the buildings are deliberately walled off, with skyways to keep residents away from any homeless people they might encounter on the sidewalks below. They have one developer’s name behind them: Geoffrey Palmer.
A second check of the signatures on a petition circulated by local property owners to prevent rent control in Alameda found not enough were valid to qualify their initiative for the November ballot. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters initially determined the petition was not sufficient using a random sample check, which prompted a complete check.
  • Alameda
Tenants facing eviction at the Bayview Apartments on Central Avenue are adopting a "wait-and-see" approach after receiving 60-day notices, telling them they must vacate the complex. The notices were posted on front doors of three apartments July 21. Residents in four units received three-day notices less than a week later, but they have since resolved any issues they had with the property owner, said Rommel Laguardia, one of the tenants who got a 60-day notice. Residents gathered Sunday for a potluck and mulled over their options, Laguardia said.
  • Alameda
For many years, however controversial her other reforms, it looked like Margaret Thatcher had grasped the British obsession with home ownership perfectly. When she came to power in 1979, some 55% of British homes were owned by their occupiers. By 1987, helped along by easy credit and the right of council tenants to buy their homes at a hefty discount, it had soared to 64%.
Burlingame residents will decide whether to establish rent control and other tenant protections on the upcoming November ballot, under a decision by the City Council. The Burlingame City Council unanimously agreed during a meeting Monday, Aug. 1, to float during the fall election an effort to implement policies which advocates have claimed are necessary to safeguard renters from landlords seeking unfair and unsustainable rent hikes.
  • Rent control
  • San Mateo
In what could be a heated conversation, the Mountain View City Council next week will consider two rent control ballot measures for the November election.
  • Santa Clara
Despite concerns from numerous property owners, tenant advocates fed up with San Mateo’s rising cost of living and reports of no-cause evictions have succeeded in having rent control on the November ballot. As required by law, the San Mateo City Council gathered Monday night to place a citizens’ initiative titled “The San Mateo Community Preservation and Fair Rent Charter Amendment” for a vote in the next election.
  • San Mateo
Housing is not just becoming less affordable, it is also becoming more cramped for many across the U.S., according to a recent report released by Trulia. About 14.7% of households had less bedrooms than family members, an increase of 0.5 percentage points from 2009, according to the report. Unsurprisingly, larger, more expensive metros feel the cramp more than smaller metros. In addition, families with children feel the impact more than those without.
Apartment rents are rising faster than household incomes and Southern California rentals are among the priciest in the nation, according to ApartmentList.com. Figures released Monday from ApartmentList show that Pasadena had the biggest year-over-year rent increase in the Los Angeles metro area — a bump of 8 percent between July 2015 and July of this year. The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom unit in Pasadena is currently $2,090, and a two bedroom apartment goes for $2,640. Other area cities also posted big year-over-year increases:
  • Los Angeles
Bearing in mind that tenants are worried about losing their homes and landlords are wary of regulation, city leaders will explore policies to stem the tide of rising rents in Concord. The City Council plans to study the programs other cities have adopted such as rent control, "just cause" eviction, mediation, a moratorium on rent increases and programs that reward landlords who voluntarily agree to limit rent hikes and offer long-term leases.
  • Contra Costa
Can Disability Rights Movement Offer Model for Housing Activists? The Republican and Democratic National Conventions are over, and the nation’s affordable housing crisis has struck out. Not a single prime time speaker even uttered the words “housing crisis” or relayed stories about working people unable to obtain a safe, healthy and affordable place to live.
In a sign of just how tight the Long Beach housing market is for low-income renters: the voucher program known as Section 8 recently opened for applications after having been closed for 13 years, and nearly 19,000 people applied. Those who advocate for affordable housing in Long Beach say a combination of gentrification, rising rents and a low vacancy rate has contributed to the housing crunch.
  • Los Angeles
About a year ago, the exodus from Gryphon Stringed Instruments grew pronounced. Unable to rent affordable apartments, longtime employees quit or announced plans to leave the Bay Area. The cost of making music here had become just too high. "The money pressures ate them alive," said Frank Ford, sitting with his partner, Richard Johnston, in the back of the legendary guitar shop they founded in 1969. "We lost almost a third of our staff, in quick succession," Johnston said, adding that the housing pressures are "killing us."
  • Santa Clara
July 31, 2016
Jacqueline Reyes became a victim of the government program designed to help her. For nearly 10 years, Reyes, 48, rented homes with the help of vouchers from the federal Housing and Urban Development Section 8 program. The vouchers help folks like her with very low incomes afford a place in the private housing market – Reyes, an office cleaner, put 30 percent of her wages toward her rent, and the voucher guaranteed HUD would pay the rest. But two things changed: HUD’s rules and Lee County’s housing market.
The fate of a ballot initiative to repeal the ordinance preventing rent control in Burlingame and replace it with a variety of tenant protections rests in the hands of city officials, who will vote Monday, Aug. 1, on floating the proposal to voters in the fall election. The Burlingame City Council is set to decide during a special meeting whether residents will vote on a proposal aiming to do away with Measure T, the city’s current rent control prohibition, and instead implement new policies limiting the power of landlords.
  • San Mateo
A developer has dropped plans to turn a historic Hollywood apartment building into a boutique hotel, after opposition from a city councilman and community activists. Councilman David Ryu announced Monday that the owner of the Villa Carlotta decided to withdraw his application to have the formerly rent-controlled apartment building converted into a 50-unit hotel. "I am grateful for the developer's decision," Ryu said in a statement. "Our goal is to create and preserve great neighborhoods."
  • Los Angeles
No mas acoso. That's the message from an 11-year-old girl and her Brooklyn neighbors who accused their Sunset Park landlord of trying to force them out to make room for higher-paying tenants. "The landlord also insults and screams at my mom since she and my dad report to 311 that there is no heat and hot water in the winter," said Samantha Bravo, a tenant at 430 61st St., who demonstrated outside the building with her parents and neighbors.
Speaking in Spanish, Angel Gutierrez told KPIX 5 Heritage Realty is also kicking him out this Sunday, even after he told them he’d paid for repairs when they refused. “My kids [are] sick very often and the answer from them was 60-day notice,” said Delgadillo. He works as a janitor for the San Francisco Unified School District. Delgadillo says his family not only dealt with rats, But also mold, a refrigerator that was broken for six months and electrical issues. Delgadillo and his family must move out by the beginning of August.
  • San Mateo

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