News and Views

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.
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.

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