News and Views

A housing hearing in San Francisco got heated Friday over a plan that would make it much easier for residents to find a rent-controlled place in California. In the Bay Area, almost nothing gets people riled up like housing prices. “This is what the legislature should be working on: building more affordable housing stop government waste,” said retired teacher Marlene Tran. Assembly Democrats on Friday announced a slew of proposed new laws aimed at bringing the Bay Area’s sky-high prices back to earth.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
An Assembly bill that would repeal state limits on rent control laws drew protest Friday at a hearing in San Francisco from landlords who said it would put many of them out of business and take housing units off the market. Assembly Bill 1506 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, which prohibits rent control on units built after 1995, exempts single-family homes and condos and allows landlords to raise rents to market value between tenants.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
The Oakland mayor’s office officially knows of 18 large industrial spaces doubling as unpermitted homes, but other estimates say there are dozens more, maybe as many as 60. It’s hard to know since so many of these spaces are trying to hide from the city to avoid evictions. In the three months since the Ghost Ship fire, many spaces around the Bay have gotten inspections or eviction notices. A Richmond space known as Burnt Ramen, and another one just a few blocks from the Ghost Ship in East Oakland have both been closed by their respective cities.
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
If you are among the 11-plus million American households classified as extremely low income, finding a place to live is a tall order, anywhere in the country. No state or large metro has enough units available. But the odds of landing one vary drastically—it’s much higher in Boston, for example, than in Las Vegas.
All charts can be viewed at the original site.
An artist collective living in a Bernal Heights warehouse had to get creative recently to pass muster with the San Francisco Fire Department. The artists, who are in danger of losing their home in the wake of the deadly Ghost Ship fire in Oakland late last year, cut windows and a second door into the mostly metal warehouse on Peralta Avenue ahead of a meeting with fire officials Tuesday. “We did it ourselves,” said Nathan Cottam, a dancer and choreographer who is one of eight tenants living in the vibrant warehouse called the Sunspot.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
Sacramento may be Northern California’s next battleground for rent control. During a town hall meeting at the Memorial Auditorium last week, a number of residents told central city Councilman Steve Hansen that the state capital needs rent stabilization before any more people are displaced by rising prices.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Sacramento
February 23, 2017
Assemblymembers Bloom, Bonta & Chiu have introduced AB 1506, a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.  Tenants Together welcomes the growing interest in Sacramento in repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a failed 1995 law that has exacerbated California’s affordable housing crisis.  The Act unfairly ties the hands of cities that are attempting to deal with runaway housing costs at the local level.  Tenant organizations in California have all identified Costa-Hawkins as a major barrier to strong rent control and universal displacement protections.   
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
A Sacramento company has filed a civil complaint challenging Humboldt County’s recently approved mobile home rent control ordinance, Measure V. The complaint filed by Ocean West Investors LLC claims the implementation of Measure V as currently written will result in significant and unlawful financial impacts to its McKinleyville mobile home park Ocean West Senior Village. Measure V was passed by county voters in November 2016.
  • Rent control
  • Humboldt
For at least the next 45 days, the owners of age-restricted mobile home parks in San Juan Capistrano will not be allowed to change the rules so they can rent to people of all ages. The City Council imposed a 45-day moratorium on park conversions Tuesday night to give city staff time to evaluate whether the ban should be made permanent. The council’s 4-0 vote to enact a freeze drew cheers from an audience of mostly senior citizens who live in mobile home parks that are restricted to ages 55 and older.
  • Rent control
  • Orange
For at least the next 45 days, the owners of age-restricted mobile home parks in San Juan Capistrano will not be allowed to change the rules so they can rent to people of all ages. The City Council imposed a 45-day moratorium on park conversions Tuesday night to give city staff time to evaluate whether the ban should be made permanent. The council’s 4-0 vote to enact a freeze drew cheers from an audience of mostly senior citizens who live in mobile home parks that are restricted to ages 55 and older.
  • Rent control
  • Orange
Iris Canada, the 100-year-old woman who was just evicted from her Page Street home, was back in the hospital Tuesday night when a team of movers hired by the landlord showed up and started taking away her possessions. A U-Haul truck park in front of the Page St. building was filled with furniture, including the chair she liked to sit in, when I arrived around 9pm. A crowd of tenant activists was outside and several police officers had put everything on hold.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
February 19, 2017
A major nationwide owner of apartment buildings has filed suit against Airbnb for enabling tenants to violate their lease conditions. Apartment Investment & Management Company, or AIMCO, is seeking civil restitution for property damage and lost revenue, and seeks a ruling that would prevent Airbnb from continuing to list its properties.
As Ben Carson moves toward his confirmation hearings for secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the question remains how exactly his influence will be felt. Once Carson assumes this role, any choices he makes can have spillover effects that contribute not only to housing stock, health risks, and living conditions for our most vulnerable populations, but also to the very quality of our air. Depending on his decisions, climate change, and air quality conditions could worsen by unlikely sources  —  namely, affordable housing and transit-oriented development.
February 8, 2017
Tenants all over the state are facing massive unprecedented displacement because of landlords and real-estate speculators gambling on our homes, causing rents to rise. However, we are continuing to build momentum with several local wins in the past month.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Tenant organizing
  • Litigation
  • Housing conditions/habitability
February 1, 2017
In a major victory for tenants, a court on Monday upheld a Santa Monica ordinance that bans discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders.
  • Section 8 Discrimination
  • Los Angeles
In our new world of fake news and alternative facts, a front page New York Times story wrongly blaming tech for San Francisco’s lack of children (“San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone,” January 2) may not seem that disturbing. But the problem with the story is simple: the reporter compared 1970 and 2010 census figures to show a decline in San Francisco’s child age population instead of comparing 2010 to 2000. Why use a nearly 50 year old census figure instead of more recent data?
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
Gentrification is the hottest of hot-button urban issues. Many activists and critics see it as essentially a process by which more affluent and educated white newcomers displace poorer, working-class black residents. But those who have studied the subject closely, like Columbia University urban planner Lance Freeman, believe that the issue of displacement is more myth than reality. In fact, Freeman’s detailed empirical research has found that the probability of a family being displaced by gentrification in New York City was a mere 1.3 percent.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
The three-story, 30-unit apartment building at 1620 Fruitvale Avenue was the subject of no less than twenty different housing habitability complaints since 2008, according to city records. Problems included raw sewage pooling under the building and no smoke alarms in over-crowded apartments. Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker sued the building's landlords last August. Today her office secured an injunction requiring the landlords, Jad and Suad Jaber, to fix every code violation within 40 days, or face contempt of court charges and other sanctions.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Alameda
Juan Carlos Ramirez has lived in his Mission District home for 37- years. Although he and his wife Rebecca Suval are parents to a fragile infant of 2 pounds an 10 ounces born at just 28 weeks, they have also been under owner move-in assault since April 2016. The eviction has truly taken its toll on their mental and physical well-being.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco

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