News and Views
ollywood apartment building is on its way to becoming a hotel after Los Angeles lawmakers rejected the arguments of tenant activists who warned that it would worsen the city’s housing crisis. Property owner David Lesser plans to renovate the vacant building on Cherokee Avenue, a short walk from the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard, and turn it into a boutique hotel with two dozen rooms.
A shake-up at last night’s Berkeley city council meeting over short-term rentals suggests an imminent East Bay showdown over how to regulate companies like Airbnb. Berkeley was set to vote on an ordinance that would legalize and regulate short-term rentals, or STRs, on Tuesday. But discussions over next year’s budget ran long, so the Airbnb vote was delayed to a special meeting on July 7 — but not before some hints that Berkeley, once considered robust in its stance to regulate STRs, is buckling under pressure from Airbnb.
Local communities are increasingly passing laws to control crime and nuisances on rental properties. They do so mostly by limiting the number of times police can be called to a residence. But it turns out that crime victims — especially victims of domestic abuse — are often the ones who end up being penalized.
June 28, 2016
City Council decided not to implement a funding plan that would have determined how to allocate the cost of the Rent Review, Rent Stabilization and Limitations on Evictions Ordinance at its meeting on June 21. The rent ordinance, which came into effect March 31, is projected to cost $1.95 million annually, according to Alameda Community Development Director Debbie Potter and SCI Consulting Group, a Fairfield-based consulting firm that assists public agencies with establishment and administration of taxes, assessments, fees and other special levies.
June 27, 2016
About 400 residents, including more than 100 children, live at the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. The owner of the property - the Jisser family - has been trying to close the park for about four years.
Today at 4:30pm at City Hall, Concord tenants are gathering with their community to ask the city to pass policy solutions like rent control and just cause in response to rising rents and evictions. Four of the tenant-leaders have been fighting slumlord Steven Pinza for repairs and fair rents, and are now being evicted by Pinza. Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, has been assisting the tenants.
June 27, 2016
The board that sets rents for more than one million rent-stabilized apartments in New York City voted on Monday to freeze rents for one-year leases for the second year in a row.
It's being called one of the largest rent increases ever in San Francisco. A North Beach tenant recently received notice from his landlord that the rent on his apartment was going up from $1,800 a month to $8,000. Neil Hutchinson, who has lived in the building at Columbus and Scotland streets for six years, has been hit with a rent increase of 344 percent.
A group of Concord residents who have been locked in a battle with a property manager are asking city leaders Monday to consider adopting tenant protection policies. The tenants are gathering an hour before a Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers and will be arguing for the need for rent control and just cause for eviction policies in Concord.
June 27, 2016
San Mateo tenant activists submitted more than 11,000 signatures for a rent control initiative, according to Faith In Action's Peninsula housing lead Aracely Mondragon, who helped lead the signature gathering campaign. This comes just two weeks after a similar action by the Mountain View Tenants Coalition.
One South Bay community is seeing soaring demand for housing -- so much so that some residents are redefining the concept of housing itself. In the 2300 block of Latham Street, a fleet of old-time RVs line the street. They aren't parked, however, as play things for the affluent. These RVs are symbolic of a new concept for affordable housing and represents a neighborhood within a neighborhood.
The high cost of housing is one of the most challenging planning issues of our time. The meager supply of affordable housing is a major contributor to the problem, yet the policy tools to address the shortfall often seem to worsen the problem. But this is because they ignore the underlying infrastructure and financing to support growth.
Below is a transcript of our former Central Valley Organizer Simone Cranston-Rhodes acceptance speech for the Way of Peace Award for Youth given by The Center for Non-Violence in Fresno:
June 16, 2016
In the article “In Silicon Valley Suburbs, Calls to Limit the Soaring Rents” the NY Times effectively published California Apartment Association talking points and assumptions without checking the facts. Here are three of the most inaccurate statements that assume the facts are settled:
June 14, 2016
Mountain View residents are likely to vote on rent control this November, according to the Mountain View Tenants Coalition. On Tuesday, the Coalition submitted more than 7,300 signatures for a rent control initiative to the city clerk, according to Communications Organizer Daniel Debolt. Among other things, the initiative would tie maximum allowable rents to changes in the Bay Area Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation that has averaged a 2.5 percent annual increase over the last 10 years. The new would only apply to units first occupied on or before Feb. 1, 1995.
June 14, 2016
Governor Jerry Brown has offered California’s cash-starved affordable housing industry a deal: pass his “as of right” housing measure in exchange for $400 million to address the state’s housing crisis. When this $400 million is added to the over $200 million from the Senate’s No Place Like Home plan and the $366 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (from cap and trade auctions) it amounts to roughly $1 billion in new affordable housing funds to California in the new budget.
June 13, 2016
Members of the Mountain View Tenants Coalition are reporting this week they have collected more than 7,100 signatures, far more than needed to place their rent control initiative onto the November ballot. The group says it intends to submit the signatures and other paperwork for the measure to City Hall on Tuesday.
The relentless search in major cities for affordable yet aesthetically pleasing housing isn't getting any easier. Real estate firm Douglas Elliman released a report this week showing New York's white hot rental market—one of the most torrid in the country along with San Francisco—experienced a marginal cooling in May. During the month, median rent prices in the city dipped 0.4 percent to $3,358 from a year ago, helped by concessions offered by landlords to prospective tenants.
After years of punishing rent increases, activists across Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are pushing a spate of rent control proposals, driven by outrage over soaring housing prices and fears that the growing income gap is turning middle-class families into an endangered species. Those campaigns, if successful, would lead to the largest expansion of tenant laws since the 1970s.
The first volleys were fired in a renewed Mission District housing battle on Thursday, as dozens of activists rallied at City Hall against a recently-resurrected housing project at 16th and Mission that would be the largest planned for the neighborhood. It’s been just a week since the last pitched battle over housing in the neighborhood — a months-long affair concerning a 335-unit housing project on Bryant Street — ended in a loss for activists when the project was approved by the Planning Commission, though not without significant concessions from the developer.