News and Views
Legislation sponsored by the California Apartment Association to impede voters from passing local ballot measures on key land use issues is dead for this year, thanks in part to the growing power of California’s tenant rights movement. The bill was tabled yesterday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
August 28, 2017
“Now you’ve pissed off grandma.” “Correct the folly! Reinstate rent control.” “No loophole! Rent control.” So read some of the mostly hand-made signs held aloft by a couple dozen senior citizens and veterans gathered in front of Vallejo City Hall on Monday in protest of the city’s inaction in re-instating a rent stabilization ordinance accidentally repealed last year. People like Sandra Wickers, 83, who has lived in a Vallejo mobile home park for 28 years, and Marie Dunham, 84, who has made the same park her home for 40 years, were there Monday.
August 28, 2017
“I’m paying $950 [for rent per month] there, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed [that it doesn’t go up],” said Cat Mendoza on August 26. She lives off of 44th Street in City Heights, just a couple blocks away from the “Know Your Tenants Rights/Conozca sus Derechos de Inquilino” meeting that she attended with three others. “It’s increased from $700 [per month],” said Mendoza, 32, “and it’s comparatively lower than certain areas — but we still have a lot of stuff that needs to be fixed.”
August 27, 2017
State leaders have finally woken up to the affordable housing crisis raging throughout California. A slew of housing bills were introduced this year with different approaches to the problem. The governor and real estate companies sought deregulation of high-priced housing construction, while affordable housing and community advocates pushed for what families being priced out of neighborhoods need most urgently: funds to build more homes that low-income people can afford and removal of state constraints on local affordable housing and anti-displacement policies.
August 26, 2017
A new state law designed to battle bedbugs requires California landlords to provide tenants with written information about these blood-sucking, tenacious pests and how to report suspected infestations to the landlord. The disclosure requirement took effect for new tenants July 1 and will apply to existing tenants Jan. 1.
August 26, 2017
Erin Blackwolf is a veterinary technician with two kids, two cats and a dog living in a 280-square-foot rental in Felton that costs $1,400 a month. Since November, Blackwolf, 41, who is divorced, has been looking for a two-bedroom rental for $1,800 but landlords are wary of pets. “I’m not willing to let my best friends go,” she said. She looked on Craigslist, where she found scams. She posted on Facebook, trying to team up with another family, but found landlords uninterested.
August 14, 2017
Seattle wants to make it easier for formerly incarcerated people to find a home. Today, the City Council is likely to pass a new ordinance that, with few exceptions, would prohibit landlords from screening potential tenants based on past convictions or arrests. With an average of 85 people per month being released from prison and into homelessness in Washington, the Fair Chance Housing ordinance is a new approach for a city grappling with housing and homelessness crises. [UPDATE: The City Council approved the ordinance unanimously.]
August 13, 2017
The number of people living on the streets in San Diego County may be 50 percent higher than thought, according to a new study. That means the annual count of homeless people overall could be much greater than numbers the federal government uses to fund housing programs. The study, led by University of New Hampshire statistician Chris Glynn and sponsored by the real estate database company Zillow, factored in the relationship of housing costs to homelessness, a departure from the traditional head-count method in determining the number of homeless people.
August 12, 2017
Modesto resident Christine Thompson said it took her three or four months of searching to find her current home, a two-bedroom apartment that rents for $825 a month, is clean, in good repair and in a decent neighborhood. She and her two children have been living there since January.
August 12, 2017
Supporters of maintaining “just cause” eviction protections as part of a city ordinance will rally outside City Hall on Saturday afternoon. The rally is being organized by tenant activists and will take place 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. It comes amid efforts by landlords to remove the just cause, saying it’s unfair and can prevent them from removing problem tenants. Statements from Alameda’s Vice Mayor Malia Vella and City Councilman Jim Oddie are expected to be read out during the event.
August 11, 2017
As Pete Yamamoto recalls the events of Aug. 4, 1977 — the infamous eviction night at Kearny Street’s old International Hotel — his eyes are closed. For several minutes, he seems to be trying to concentrate as he recounts what occurred 40 years ago. But after a while, he pauses, bows his head and trembles silently.
More Than Half of L.A.'s One Million Poor Households Live in Unaffordable or Substandard Rentals, Study Says
August 10, 2017
Los Angeles and New York City top the list of U.S. cities with the most poor people laboring under heavy rent burdens, living in substandard housing, or both, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs study released Wednesday. More than half of Los Angeles’ 1 million very poor households, or 567,000, spent more than half their income on rent or resorted to undesirable housing in 2015, the study said.
August 10, 2017
Marin Supervisor Damon Connolly has signaled what may be the Marin Board of Supervisors’ next step in addressing the county’s affordable housing crisis. “What we’re likely to propose — and it’s under consideration right now — is any landlord looking to raise the rent by more than 5 percent would be subject to mandatory mediation,” Connolly told a packed house of renters and others in San Rafael on Wednesday.
Sacramento’s downtown apartment-building boom stepped up its already speedy pace this week with a notable new project – a densely packed midtown apartment aimed squarely at millennials with modest pocketbooks. The 19J apartments at 19th and J streets will include a couple dozen “micro-units” with rents under $1,000, a rarity in a city that has made headlines for the fastest-rising rents in the country.
August 1, 2017
Tenants of a south Co Dublin apartment complex have objected to being told to leave their homes by the agent for the two global investment firms that own the block. PwC, which is acting as receiver for the companies that own St Helen’s Court in Dún Laoghaire, has issued the 17 families and tenants who live in the block with notices to vacate their homes so the complex can be refurbished. They will have an opportunity to re-rent an apartment after the work has been completed, according to the receiver’s letter.
Some people are being forced to leave Sacramento as rent prices soar. A newly-released study shows the gap is closing between Sacramento and San Francisco when it comes to affording rent. For some, rent has been raised at a breathtaking rate. One woman said her rent went from $695 to more than $1000, forcing her to move out of her south Sacramento apartment. That kind of decision, suffer a raised rent or move, has Jovana Fajardo pushing for rent control across Sacramento.
A Craigslist ad for a “sunny and charming” one bedroom apartment “close to everywhere” might catch your eye if you were looking for a place to rent in Berkeley. But if you’ve got a federal low-income housing voucher, you’re out of luck. No section 8 allowed. Postings like these may soon be illegal in Berkeley.
July 31, 2017
Most days, Linda Trevino and her husband Angel wake up around 7 a.m. She'll brew a fresh pot of coffee while he scans the local alt-weekly. After taking their two dogs out for a quick walk, Linda and Angel will sit at their modest Formica kitchen table, quietly sipping from their mugs and watching morning television.
An ordinance that would prevent landlords from evicting tenants on month-to-month leases without just cause is one of the strategies that Marin supervisors will consider Tuesday when they review their progress in preserving housing affordability and preventing displacement. A “just cause” ordinance is one of several of options that county planning staff will present to the Board of Supervisors when it meets at 5:30 p.m. at the Marin County Civic Center.
As Bay Area residents continue to face high housing costs, tenants and community activists are calling on corporate landlords to stop rent increases and for support in broadening rent control legislation. Merika Reagan, an East Oakland resident who owns a pet care and dog walking business, is part of Housing Now! — a statewide coalition of more than 50 tenants rights groups, labor unions, community organizations, housing advocates and small landlords — who are fighting to make housing more affordable.