News and Views
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) is attempting to limit Marin County’s affordable housing regulations more than any other county in California with a provision called Assembly Bill 121. The bill was attached to the state budget, which has already been approved, meaning it does not have to stand up to scrutiny at the committee stage. Marin County has an average household income of $133,128, compared to the 2015 national average of $56,516. The Los Angeles Times reports that wealth disparity between the rich and poor in Marin County is one of the largest in the state.
June 28, 2017
Local politics is always, in one way or another, about housing. In San Francisco, a deep blue city whose fault lines long ago ceased to resemble America’s, that politics is a vitriolic civic scrimmage, where people who agree about almost every national issue make sworn enemies over zoning, demolition, and development. It’s like a circular firing squad at a co-op meeting.
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the process can be simple. In many cases in Los Angeles, and across California, property owners only have to state they are ending the lease. No justification is needed — only notices of at least 30 days to provide some time to move out. Now, amid an affordable housing shortage and reports that low-income tenants are being displaced for wealthier renters, Los Angeles is exploring whether to require landlords to show “just cause” to evict, reasons that would include damaging a unit, creating a nuisance or not paying rent.
June 28, 2017
San Francisco will not be allowed to require landlords who go out of the rental business to pay their evicted tenants as much as $50,000 to cover the higher rents they’ll face on the open market. A ruling striking down a city ordinance that would have mandated the payments became final Wednesday when the state Supreme Court declined to review it.
A change to the city’s rent ordinance aimed at giving tenants protection from unfair evictions is now on hold after landlords submitted a petition to the City Clerk that supports putting the issue on the ballot. A total of 4,808 of the approximately 7,300 signatures on the petition must be verified as from registered Alameda voters before the City Council can opt to remove the amendment, or ask voters to decide whether it should remain.
June 28, 2017
First They Came for the Homeless, a group protesting the criminalization of homelessness, has camped out at the “Here There” sign at the Berkeley-Oakland border for several months. The lifespan of the tent city is notable in the wake of a string of clear-outs of the group’s previous encampments.
Finally, after several years of punishing rent hikes, the pain is finally coming to an end for renters across the country. Except in Seattle. New reports show that rents throughout the Seattle area continue to surge at among the highest rates in the country. Meanwhile, other pricey cities like New York and San Francisco are now seeing rents drop, while the average U.S. rent has basically remained flat.
About 15 Glendale residents — mostly renters and at least one property owner — gathered last week for the third time to form the early makings of a group called the Glendale Tenants Union, an organized voice for tenant issues to professionally counter landlords in a city where about two-thirds of its residents are renters. The meeting was led by former Glendale City Council candidate and renter Mike Van Gorder, along with fellow renters Karen Kwak and John Bagdzhyan, in the community room at Fire Station 21, near downtown.
By many measures, the effort to convert old elevated railway on Chicago’s Northwest Side into a signature park has been a smashing success. The 2.7-mile recreation trail, known as The 606, built on old Chicago & Pacific Railroad line has been praised as a model use of public space since it opened two years ago. It's regularly packed with bikers, joggers and walkers.
A Santa Monica tenant facing an eviction threat after installing a Ring doorbell on her front door will be allowed to stay in her home and keep the device, thanks to an intervention by the CEO of Ring himself. Ring is a Santa Monica-based home surveillance company lead by Jamie Siminoff. Shortly after the Santa Monica Daily Press published a story about a single mom receiving an eviction notice for installing a Ring camera, Siminoff gave Jessica Katz a call.
June 23, 2017
A plan for 10,000 new housing units in the North Bayshore development set to feature a huge new Google campus has been slashed to include as few as 1,500 units. A draft plan released by the city in October called for creation of three new neighborhoods totaling 154 acres with 9,850 housing units, 20 percent of them classed as “affordable.”
June 22, 2017
In the expensive housing markets of northern California, a growing number of cities are making it tougher for landlords to displace tenants by requiring they justify their evictions. Now Los Angeles, with its own housing affordability crisis, may follow their lead. The City Council's housing panel on Wednesday advanced a proposal that would bar evictions except for just cause — such as when tenants don't pay rent, become a nuisance or damage property. Right now, landlords of market-rate properties in L.A. don't have to give a reason for removing tenants.
June 22, 2017
Low-income renters who are displaced from their homes tend to experience many adverse impacts in other areas of their lives, a recent study that focused on San Mateo County residents shows. Such displaced renters are left with fewer job options and health services, longer commutes and greater environmental and safety concerns, according to a study by researchers Justine Marcus and Mirian Zuk with U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.
Milpitas: Council Approves 45-Day Moratorium on Demolition Permits for Affordable Housing Structures
June 22, 2017
In a first step toward addressing the production and preservation of affordable housing in Milpitas, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a 45-day moratorium on demolition permits for below-market rate units.
June 19, 2017
Gov. Cuomo has ordered a multiagency investigation into whether landlords across the state are discriminating against immigrants — including asking them to prove their citizenship or face eviction. The Daily News reported exclusively on Sunday night that 23 apartments in a building on 42nd Ave. near Junction Blvd. in Corona, Queens had received such a letter. “If you fail to comply, we may have to terminate your lease and may have to evict you from the apartment,” the notice read.
June 19, 2017
Veronica and her three small children live in a modernist building in a quiet, working-class Barcelona neighborhood. The apartment is perfect for the young family, except for one thing: They are living there illegally. Veronica, who declined to give her last name for fear of eviction, is among the thousands of people squatting in vacant apartments throughout Spain.
If you’re a renter in California concerned about the high cost of living here, or looking to purchase your first home, your prospects aren’t looking up. Projections show rents will continue to surge, especially for low- and middle-income people in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, and home prices will become increasingly expensive, according to an economic analysis in the Anderson Forecast from the University of California, Los Angeles, released this month.
A coffee shop that opened last week on a busy commercial strip in Boyle Heights has prompted days of protest from groups opposed to it as a symbol of creeping gentrification in the neighborhood. A crowd of activists set up a picket line at the entrance to the shop on Thursday, urging would-be customers not to enter and taunting those who did with words like “sellout,” “colonist” and “collaborator.” They have returned every day since.
Los Angeles ranked among the top cities for "cost-burdened" renters in the latest "State of the Nation's Housing" report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Greater L.A., including Orange County, was grouped with Miami, New York, Daytona Beach, Riverside and Honolulu when it comes to metros with the biggest rent problems.
The appalling destruction of Grenfell Tower and the lives of so many who lived there has exposed what society, in its heart, already knows: our housing cannot continue to be subject to the market’s desires, needs or fluctuations. If some housing is regarded as being more valuable, more desirable, corners will always be cut in the places where there is less financial return. The same goes for people: the most disadvantaged always suffer most from the mistakes of the powerful.