News and Views
May 7, 2017
The California Apartment Association has announced it is dropping its legal challenges to rent control measures in Mountain View and Richmond. The decision was discreetly posted late Friday to the CAA's website. In suspending the lawsuits, CAA officials emphasized that they remained wholeheartedly opposed to rent control. But the decision to abandon the legal challenges was described as a strategic move to take the fight elsewhere.
Santa Rosans begin voting next week to determine whether the city should implement rent control in a special election that is shaping up to be the most divisive and expensive in the city’s history. A sharply split City Council passed the controversial policy last fall, seeking to address soaring rents and a spike in evictions. In response, local landlords and the statewide organizations that support them funded a petition drive that suspended the law and forced a referendum on the issue.
May 5, 2017
A year after a group of Latino residents seeking relief from soaring housing costs in the Monument Boulevard neighborhood spurred a debate over rent control, city leaders have established a process for tenants to appeal large rent increases. Under the rent review program, tenants of all buildings with three or more units who receive a rent increase of more than 10 percent in a 12-month period may seek mediation. If the landlord and tenant fail to reach agreement, either party may request a public hearing before a panel that will deliver a nonbinding decision.
A proposed law could prevent landlords from threatening undocumented immigrants by telling them they'll contact immigration authorities if they don't move out. The bill that's being considered in Sacramento, would protect illegal immigrants from facing questioning from a landlord concerning immigration status, under the newly proposed measure. The legislation would also prevent landlords from threatening to report tenants to immigration officials.
Santa Rosa voters face a decision on whether to adopt rent control in Sonoma County's largest city. Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions about Measure C. Who would be affected by Santa Rosa’s rent control law? Anyone living in an apartment built before Feb. 1, 1995, would be covered by rent control and just-cause eviction rules. People who rent single-family homes, duplexes or owner-occupied triplexes would not be covered. How many people is that?
Concord, CA—On Tuesday, May 2nd, the city of Concord plans to approve the implementation of a rent mediation program. Mediation is non-binding, so unlimited rent increases will continue to be legal. Tenants and their allies oppose the mediation program because these programs are ineffective at stopping rent gouging.
April 28, 2017
Tenants Together monitors legislation in Sacramento that impacts California renters. We are currently monitoring dozens of bills in an unusually crowded state docket. There are hundreds of bills in the legislature this year as the state attempts to address our housing crisis. We are also supporting bills to protect tenants more broadly from threats at the federal level. Click on the bill name to see the text and follow its status as it moves through the legislature. Currently, TT supports the following bills:
In October 2015, Scherrie and Langston Donaldson received a cryptic notice from their landlord, labeled “preferential rent credit removal.” At first glance, they weren’t sure what to make of it. “As you know, we have been billing you at a preferential rent for your 2013-2015 lease,” it read. “Unfortunately, at this time we are no longer able to extend this courtesy to you.”
April 25, 2017
It’s been over a month since San Francisco strengthened its law protecting SRO housing, and it’s already working. Introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin last December and later co-sponsored by Supervisors Cohen, Kim, Safai, and Sheehy, the new law was designed to stop the common but illegal practice of renting residential SRO rooms to tourists by the week. Now the law is crystal clear that residential units cannot be rented for less than 32 days.
April 24, 2017
Housing activists in Pasadena are asking the leaders of Fuller Seminary to re-read the Bible, especially this passage from Jeremiah: “Woe to him who builds his house without righteousness and his upper rooms without justice.” The theological school is pushing a plan before the city’s Planning Commission this Wednesday that would destroy almost 200 units of affordable housing and replace them with 307 units of luxury housing. The prophet Jeremiah would be outraged. And so should all people of conscience in Pasadena, regardless of their religion.
It’s been well over a month since Measure S was defeated, but concerns raised by the contentious ballot initiative are still fresh in the minds of L.A. politicians. Two lawmakers, Council member Mike Bonin and Council member Bob Blumenfield, are asking the city to throw its weight behind a California state assembly bill amending the Ellis Act so that every tenant would receive a one-year notification prior to eviction.
April 24, 2017
It’s no secret that the Bay Area has become increasingly unaffordable for many workers because of the soaring cost of housing. But a recent study gives a glimpse into just how much the region’s sky-high rents are gobbling up the paychecks of one core segment of its work force: teachers.
April 23, 2017
The following is a Truthout interview with Peter Moskowitz, author of How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood. Mark Karlin: How do you define gentrification?strong
To Yountville leaders trying to learn how much local housing is dirty or dilapidated – or being used as illegal tourist getaways – compiling a list of all the town’s rentals has seemed a logical step. But a proposal to require landlords to register their units with the town has stirred pushback from property owners fearing another part of the plan – mandatory inspections of all units, whether owned by scofflaws or those sticking to the law.
April 22, 2017
Amid skyrocketing rents and a housing crisis, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Friday signed and praised a new law that aims to strengthen enforcement of the city's Rent Stabilization Ordinance. The law will require landlords who demolish rent-controlled units under the Ellis Act to either replace them one-for-one with affordable units or make 20 percent of new units affordable, depending on which is higher.
April 17, 2017
Implementation of rent control victories…
Despite ranking as one of the costliest rental markets in the nation, San Jose is the last major Bay Area city that lets landlords evict renters without citing a reason — but that could change under sweeping new tenant protections city leaders will consider Tuesday. Amid mounting pressure from renters, tenant groups and housing activists — including stories of hundreds of renters being kicked out of The Reserve apartments and dozens more evicted at the hands of one landlord — elected leaders are expected to approve some changes.
April 15, 2017
After 24 hours with no food and with about 100 more to go, hunger striker Jocelin Hernandez on Saturday said it’s a small price to pay to bring attention to an issue that’s too often dodged: renters’ rights in a housing market so hot that it’s frying people out of their homes. “This isn’t a political issue anymore — it’s a health issue,” Hernandez said. “We’ve tried everything else and are hoping this will get them to pay more attention.”
April 14, 2017
Auctioning off an apartment to the highest bidder may sound like a nightmare to those struggling to find a home in Los Angeles' tight rental market. But landlords and property managers can do exactly that with the help of digital tools from tech startups. Companies like Rentberry, Biddwell and the L.A.-based Property Connect have created websites and mobile apps that allow prospective tenants to place bids on apartments.
Rent control advocates failed to win over Concord’s City Council last year, but a proposed ordinance designed to keep rent hikes below 10 percent is picking up traction in the suburban city of about 125,000 people.