News and Views

New Jersey needs more affordable housing. And the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that towns and cities don’t just need to build housing for those in need today — they owe a debt reaching back 16 years. Thanks to the decision, municipalities will need to build, rehab or convert upwards of 200,000 units for low- and moderate-income residents, NJ.com reports.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
TREASURY SECRETARY NOMINEE Steve Mnuchin kicked off his confirmation hearing Thursday with a defiant opening statement, mostly defending his record as CEO of OneWest Bank. He cast himself as a tireless savior for homeowners after scooping up failed lender IndyMac. “It has been said that I ran a ‘foreclosure machine,’” he said. “I ran a loan modification machine.” But in stark contrast to his fuzzy statistics about attempted loan modifications, the victims of OneWest’s foreclosure practices have been real and ubiquitous.
The Trump administration's plan to cut corporate taxes might be good for multinational businesses but it already is wreaking havoc on affordable housing developers who raise money for their projects through the sale of tax credits that companies use to reduce how much they owe Uncle Sam. The upshot is that New York City affordable housing projects are facing multimillion-dollar financing shortfalls.
  • Beyond California
Ben Carson basically got a warm congressional hug on Thursday, as the group of U.S. senators charged with vetting and approving President-elect Donald Trump’s selection for HUD Secretary took less than three hours to question the nominee. If critics of the appointment — who say Carson’s professionally unqualified to oversee a federal agency that ensures millions of poor Americans have housing — were hoping for a grilling, they were surely disappointed. The man in the not-so-hot seat himself said, when it was ending, that it had been “kind of fun.”
Last year’s US rental market proved to be full of surprises as some hot markets underperformed, while others saw record demand for housing. But perhaps the most surprising trend uncovered by a new report from online search portal RentCafe was that in six major US cities, renters paid the equivalent of nearly 13 months worth of rent last year.
  • Rent increases
South Pasadena City Councilmember Diana Mahmud said there are multiple sides to the issue, sticking with Khubesrian argument of complexity. According to Mahmud, increased property taxes for landlords as a result of proposition 13, the fact that the apartment complex has been under market rates for a long time and years of ill maintenance have forced apartment manager Jerry Wise to impose higher rents.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
The City Council favored so many ideas for dealing with the displacement of Menlo Park residents on Tuesday that the city manager interrupted in an attempt to rein in the discussion. “We thought you would pick and choose a couple of them,” said City Manager Alex McIntyre, after a list of 10 possible actions grew to 15. “This is going to take a very long time to do.” He pointed out that the city only has two staff members to deal with housing issues and they are also tasked with economic development.
A powerful landlord’s group has sued to block a rent-control law passed by voters in the Bay Area city of Richmond this past fall, the group’s second fight in a month over voter-approved measures many believe could address the area’s housing crisis.
  • Rent control
For tenants in Jared Kushner’s buildings, seeing their landlord get a top position in the White House is as nightmarish as Donald Trump becoming president is for most New Yorkers. "It’s disgusting. It’s insane. It’s ludicrous," Mary Ann Siwek, who’s lived at 170 East 2nd Street for more than thirty years, said after Trump, Kushner’s father-in-law, tapped him to be an official senior adviser. "I don’t know how to tell you how despicable this man is."
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
Just days before Christmas, Bernadette Bohan was at home in the Mission District warehouse where she lives when a fire inspector showed up at her door. Someone had filed a complaint against the Box Factory, an arts space Bohan has run and lived at since 2008, in the wake of a warehouse fire in Oakland that killed three dozen people last month. “I had a scary feeling getting a complaint,” Bohan said, remembering that the complaint left her with a “lump in her throat” during her trip to the East Coast over the holidays.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • San Francisco
January 11, 2017
Rents continue to skyrocket. People continue to get evicted. Poor residents and people of color continue to be pushed out of the city. People are moving here faster than new units can be built.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
To show how the legal skirmish over Measure V could have played out differently, Mountain View's rent control advocates are pointing across the Bay to the city of Richmond.
  • Rent control
  • Santa Clara
In releasing a state spending plan for the next fiscal year, Gov. Jerry Brown revisited efforts to increase new housing through legislation that would streamline permitting and create incentives for local governments to meet housing goals.
  • Affordable housing
January 6, 2017
Richmond, CA—This morning the California Apartment Association moved to file a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Measure L, the rent control and just cause for eviction ordinance that was passed by 64% of Richmond voters this November, and went into effect on December 30th, 2016. The City Attorney’s Office in Richmond mounted an effective defense against the TRO, and it was rejected at 10:30am this morning by Judge Raddick at the Martinez courthouse.  
  • Rent control
  • Contra Costa
December 21, 2016
(photo from Burnt Ramen protest on 12/20/16 in Richmond)   On December 30th, 2016  Richmond, CA's new rent control and just cause protections will go into effect. We need to ensure that tenants in Richmond at risk of eviction know of these protections and have access to the resources to understand them.
  • Rent control
  • Eviction
  • Contra Costa
December 8, 2016
Today Causa Justa :: Just Cause, a community tenants’ rights organization in Oakland and San Francisco, and Tenants Together have released the following joint statement in response to the “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire in Oakland and the current wave of evictions in Oakland and beyond:
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Tenant organizing
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
A major test of rent control as a way to solve the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis met mixed results at the polls last week. Initiatives to establish formal rent-control programs appear to be on track to pass in Mountain View and Richmond but failed in San Mateo, Burlingame and Alameda. All were placed on the ballot by citizens who collected enough signatures.
  • Rent control
Now that Measure V has passed, Mountain View officials are trying to figure out how to implement a citywide rent-control program, a complicated endeavor that could require creating a new branch of staff at City Hall. Mayor Pat Showalter is reportedly calling for a special meeting to consider an urgency ordinance to prevent a potential backlash of evictions before rent control takes effect, by enacting just-cause protections for tenants.
  • Rent control
  • Santa Clara
“Now we have to work to overturn the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act at the state level in order to have truly effective renter protections,” Vann said. In the race for the at-large City Council seat, Kaplan won with 53.25 of the vote, defeating challengers Peggy Moore (19.58 percent), Bruce Quan (16.67 percent), Matt Hummel (6.60 percent) and Nancy Sidebotham (3.73 percent).
  • Rent control
  • Alameda
November 10, 2016
More than 8,000 people in San Francisco have been evicted from their homes over the past four years, but hundreds of those residents may have been wrongfully evicted, according to an analysis by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit. Landlords can legally evict their tenants for one of 16 reasons, including failure to pay rent and housing too many roommates. One of the fastest growing evictions, however, allows landlords to kick out their tenants if they, or, in some cases, their relatives, want to move into the home.
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco

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