News and Views
July 11, 2017
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved two pieces of legislation intended to keep lower- and middle-class residents in the city, each requiring a hard-won compromise between the board’s moderate and progressive wings. The first law lays out several proof-of-residency requirements for landlords who evict their tenants, saying they want to occupy a dwelling themselves. The supervisors approved it unanimously on the first reading. It is expected to come back for final passage next week.
Tenants who rent homes from one of America’s largest corporate landlords are asking the company to stop increasing their rent and address what they say is endemic neglect of the properties.
July 5, 2017
Effective Sept. 1, landlords of about 10,000 rent-controlled units in Richmond will be able to increase rents by no more than 3.4 percent, and must file notice with the City’s Rent Board if they intend to do so, according to the June 30 City Manager’s report. Tasked with administering the City’s relatively new rent control policy, the Richmond Rent Board released its 2017 annual general adjustment that caps rent increases to about 3 percent each year.
The San Diego Housing Commission and area elected officials Wednesday kicked off a three-year, $80 million program to provide more housing for the area's burgeoning homeless population. The new phase of the commission's Housing First-San Diego plan involves six initiatives, which include giving incentives to landlords to rent to people who are homeless, providing more than 700 housing vouchers, constructing more affordable housing and voucher-eligible housing units, and assisting 600 more families that become homeless because of a sudden change like loss of a job.
As Oregon continues to grapple with an affordable housing shortage, the Oregon Senate appears ready to kill renters' best hope for new protections in this year's legislative session. Over the weekend, speculation began spreading online that Democratic senators didn't have the support to pass House Bill 2004. With the clock running out on this year's legislative session, it looks like the legislation will die in committee. "I can confirm that there is not a path forward for House Bill 2004," says Rick Osborn, a spokesman for Senate Democratic leadership.
The march toward high rents in Los Angeles appears not to be letting up. Rents for Angelenos have risen 5 percent since last June, according to a report released Monday by an apartment listings company. Apartment List’s latest data also shows that rents grew by half a percent over just the past month. The median monthly rent for a two-bedroom in Los Angeles is $1,720, more than the national average, which is $1,150, the report shows.
As Los Angeles County kicks off its largest campaign ever to tackle homelessness, officials are also looking to stem the tide of those losing housing and ending up on the streets. On Monday, the county will start spending expected revenue from Measure H, a quarter-cent sales tax that kicks in Oct. 1. The tax is expected to raise up to $355 million annually for all kinds of services related to homelessness — including the somewhat nascent field of homelessness prevention, which is slated to receive $45 million of investments in the first three years of the tax.
July 3, 2017
It is shaping up to be a long, hot summer for San Mateo renters as monthly fees due to landlords ticked up by nearly 4 percent in last year, continuing a steady incline for the past six months, according to a recent report. The report from ApartmentList.com showed the median rent for a one-bedroom unit is $3,450 and a two-bedroom unit is $4,330, while the hikes follow a trend consistent throughout the region.
July 3, 2017
Not too long ago, Bay Area renters began to feel some relief. In the latter part of 2016, analysts described softening rents and, indeed, a plateau appeared to have emerged early this year. But here we go again. The cost of renting an apartment moved up in June across the region, according to a new analysis from ApartmentList.com, a website that tracks the national rental market. Nationwide, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,150, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier. Most Bay Area cities were about double that, or more.
UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW students fed-up with high rents for rubbish flats and financial malpractice by rogue landlords are taking matters into their own hands by establishing a vetting service of local accommodation lets. A voluntary network of students organised by the university’s Student Representative Council have established a “Private Accommodation Viewing Service (PAVS)” to check that advertised accommodation “is safe to live in”. Armed with a check-list of enquiries, landlords will be questioned on the return of deposits and the safety of student flats.
For nearly two decades, Judge Marcia Sikowitz has presided over landlord-tenant disputes in one of New York City's busiest housing courts. In a borough where rapid gentrification has sent rents soaring, Sikowitz says, she has heard it all — and said it all. When a renter who was representing himself in an eviction proceeding would ask her advice, the judge had a rote retort: "I'm not your lawyer and I can't tell you what to do."
A mural on the wall of an elementary school here proclaimed, “All the world is all of us,” but the hundreds of people packing the auditorium one night were determined to stop a low-income housing project from coming to their upscale neighborhood. The proposed 233-unit building, which was to be funded with federal tax credits, would burden their already overcrowded elementary school with new children, many people argued during a lively meeting last year. Some urged the Houston Housing Authority to pursue cheaper sites elsewhere.
Two apartment buildings condemned by the city of Merced left 32 people on the street this week, according to advocates. The 12 units were condemned on June 22 because the “complex is deemed substandard and poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of the occupants,” according to notices placed on the unit doors. In the displaced group were children, seniors and adults, including two pregnant women, advocates said.
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.
June 29, 2017
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
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.
California Lawmakers Have Tried for 50 Years to Fix the State's Housing Crisis. Here's Why They've Failed
June 29, 2017
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.
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.
Crackdown on Fraudulent S.F. Evictions Passes Unanimously After NBC Bay Area Investigation Reveals Widespread Abuse
June 28, 2017
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.
June 28, 2017
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.