News and Views

Proposition 10, the proposed initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, was stymied at the state ballot Tuesday thanks to an unprecedented $74 million in real estate industry opposition money, but there were also victories for rent control at local ballots across California.
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Tenants Together has issued an open letter calling on the California Apartment Association and other groups representing California landlords to publicly condemn a rash of unethical and retaliatory rent hikes, evictions, and voter intimidation tactics to undermine support for Proposition 10, repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and its presence on the November 2018 ballot.  
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
San Francisco’s YIMBY Action is facing a difficult choice, one that may define the group for years to come. Will the champions of “build, build, build” endorse Proposition 10, the state ballot prop that would repeal rent control advocate’s most pernicious roadblock, Costa Hawkins?
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • San Francisco
Proposals to force Bay Area cities to allow housing development at BART stations and to help those squeezed by the new federal cap on tax deductions were among the bills to survive the latest round of cuts Thursday at California’s Capitol. “Building housing near major transit hubs just makes sense,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who is carrying the BART bill, after his hotly debated Assembly Bill 2923 cleared Thursday’s committee hurdle.
  • Affordable housing
This past February, Elizabeth McGriff, a resident of Rochester, New York, moved back into her home at 618 Cedarwood Terrace. It was no small act, following a foreclosure local housing activists deemed unjust, prompting more than five years of bank negotiations, eviction blockades, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, prayer services, lockouts and a “live-in,” in which McGriff and others moved back into the house after sheriff’s deputies removed her belongings.
  • Tenant organizing
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
The newest fight for state-level tenant protections was ignited by an old pamphlet.
  • Tenant organizing
  • Beyond California
Kathy and Kim Suszczewicz thought they would gain peace of mind when they moved into a three-bedroom rental home in a neat north Phoenix neighborhood in 2016. The family was rebuilding from losing their life savings, car and house after Kim was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer that required years of treatment and lost his engineering job.
  • Beyond California
  • Housing conditions/habitability
Back in spring, Berkeley’s rent board jumped out in front of San Francisco on a vote that could bring the most significant change to California housing in decades. A grassroots campaign had just announced it had gathered enough signatures for Proposition 10, a statewide November ballot measure to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The 1995 state law took power from local governments, restricting their ability to enact or expand rent-control laws. In San Francisco, voters could face a similar measure next year.
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Menlo Park is in the process of developing an ordinance that, if passed, could require landlords who evict tenants without cause or impose rent increases over a certain level to give cash to those displaced. While the city's Housing Commission discussed the terms of such a potential ordinance on Aug. 8, it left some matters still unresolved. The plan is to conduct public outreach before the matter is brought to the City Council, according to Clay Curtin, interim housing and economic development manager.
  • Relocation payments
  • San Mateo
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved to impose temporary rent caps on mobile homes. The vote comes amid a broader, controversial push to remove barriers to rent control across California in response to rising housing costs. In a 3-1 vote, supervisors approved temporary caps on so-called space rents — the price park owners charge residents to keep their homes on the premises. The ordinance, which will come back for final approval next month, would be in effect for 180 days and limit rent increases to 3% a year for leases of 12 months and less.
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
It's been an exciting and challenging summer for California tenants. The good news: through our collective power, we are fighting back. Here's just a slice of the work Tenants Together and our members, partners, and allies are doing this summer!
  • Rent control
  • Tenant organizing
  • Legislative victories/defeats
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • Ellis Act
  • Eviction
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  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Tenant organizing
The real-estate industry-backed effort to undermine Mountain View rent control failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. The so-called “Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative” would have placed a poison pill in the 2016 Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act, also known as Measure V, effectively eliminating the applicability of rent control to tenants across the city.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg came out Thursday against an effort to put rent control on the ballot in Sacramento this November. “Their initiative is a threat,” Steinberg said. “If it got on the ballot and it passed, I think that would be a problem.” Housing advocates and labor groups have been gathering signatures to put a renter protections measure in front of voters this fall.
  • Rent control
  • Sacramento
Sacramento’s escalating rents could result in the City Council enacting a rent control ordinance, possibly to head off a rent control ballot measure that could appear before voters in November. The California Apartment Association posted an item on its website this week saying Mayor Darrell Steinberg would introduce such an ordinance for a vote as soon as next Tuesday’s City Council meeting, or at the meeting on June 19.
  • Rent control
  • Sacramento
Tuesday’s California primary election brought good news for renters and tenant activists, and potential headaches for budget hawks as voters approved Proposition F, a new law that will provide a lawyer for every SF tenant facing possible eviction. According to the proposition’s text: This measure would require the City to establish, fund and run a program to provide legal representation for all residential tenants in San Francisco whose landlords are attempting to evict them from where they live.
  • Civil Gideon
  • San Francisco
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Thursday he opposes a rent control ballot measure being pushed by the powerful Service Employees International Union labor union and is instead drafting an ordinance with protections for renters he plans to bring to the City Council this summer.
  • Rent control
  • Sacramento
In November, California voters could repeal a controversial 1995 housing law that limited rent control across the state. Cities like Berkeley, which has one of the most comprehensive rent-control policies around, will face decisions about what to do with their housing if the law is repealed.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • Alameda
It was a bloodbath on the Assembly floor last week. The victims: California’s poor and working class. The winners: big corporate interests — banks, landlords, and polluters. For those who are quick to criticize the US Congress but think California’s Democrat-controlled supermajority legislature is much better, think again: when it comes to corporate control, Sacramento is caught in the tight grip of corporate lobbyists.   A trio of tenant bills on the floor last week paints quite the picture:  
  • Legislative victories/defeats
  • Eviction
Movements for renter power are gaining strength. Even just a few years ago discussion of any type of rent regulation was a non-starter. Now, new rent control laws are passing and a measure is headed to the ballot to repeal Costa Hawkins, the industry created state law that severely limits local rent control.
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act

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