News and Views

June 4, 2019
On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Senate Bill 529 (María Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles), which aimed to prevent landlord retaliation against tenants who form tenant associations, failed to pass the California Senate by one vote. The measure, sponsored by Tenants Together, required 21 votes to pass the Senate.  
  • Tenant organizing
  • Legislative victories/defeats
On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the State Senate Judiciary Committee in a 6-2 vote approved Senate Bill 529 (Durazo). The bill would prevent retaliatory evictions of tenants participating in a tenant association or rent strike. SB 529 will now head to the State Senate Appropriations Committee. The hearing date has yet to be determined.  
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Tenant organizing
  • Legislative victories/defeats
Today, Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights, announced its sponsorship of Senate Bill 529, which aims to protect California tenants from retaliation by their landlord for organizing collectively. The bill would prevent evictions of tenants participating in a tenant association or rent strike.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Tenant organizing
A Huntsville lawyer has filed her first government shutdown-related eviction. With federal workers missing their second pay check Friday and February rent coming due soon, she fears more are coming. Attorney Sarah Taggart represents landlords statewide in residential and commercial evictions. “I’ve never experienced anything like this. I’ve done eviction work primarily for the last decade and you see people who have lost their job, that happens that’s just a natural part of the American economy but this kind of wholesale, it's unprecedented," says Taggart.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Omaha’s city prosecutor plans to file 100 criminal charges against the landlord of the Yale Park Apartments complex that was in such bad shape that 500 refugees were forced to evacuate four months ago. Mayor Jean Stothert announced Friday that landlord Kay Anderson will face 100 misdemeanors relating to violating city code and not fixing repairs at the apartments at 34th Avenue and Lake Street after squalid conditions were found.
  • Beyond California
  • Housing conditions/habitability
With new options on the table to solve the Bay Area’s housing shortage, local elected officials and employers need to pick their favorites and make them happen.
January 25, 2019
At Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request, California filed a lawsuit Friday against the city of Huntington Beach over what state officials describe as the city’s failure to allow enough homebuilding to accommodate a growing population. Newsom said the suit is needed to address rising housing costs that threaten economic growth and deepen inequality. The lawsuit accuses Huntington Beach of defying a state law that requires cities and counties to set aside sufficient land for housing development.
  • Affordable housing
  • Orange
As the partial federal government shutdown stretches into its sixth week, low-income families, seniors and the disabled are facing housing instability and possible evictions. Last month, Congress failed to provide funding for key federal agencies, including the departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and of Agriculture, which provide housing assistance to low-income families. The shutdown is affecting not just unpaid federal workers, but also 4.7 million families living in federally subsidized housing, housing advocates say.
  • Affordable housing
January 24, 2019
Investors are eyeing a new build-to-rent strategy amid increased competition that’s arisen from a tight supply of older housing inventory in many markets, the National Real Estate Investor reports. They want to invest in markets such as Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Phoenix; and Texas, where building and land costs are lower, and where there is more entry-level home building, the report said.
With the government shutdown dragging on and hundreds of federal workers in San Jose set to miss a second paycheck on Friday, Mayor Sam Liccardo is proposing prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants affected by the current gridlock in Washington. In a memo Wednesday to the City Council, Liccardo suggested the city adopt an ordinance that would put a temporary moratorium on allowing landlords to evict certain tenants for not paying rent.
  • Eviction
  • Santa Clara
In a one-sided debate during a Half Moon Bay City Council meeting devoted to tenant protections, council members determined they need more research and data before taking action.
  • San Mateo
The City Council has backed off plans to reinstate a temporary law prohibiting landlords from evicting tenants without cause. The proposed just-cause eviction moratorium was approved as a stop-gap measure in a 4-3 vote earlier this month, but failed to muster enough council support to earn a second and final vote Tuesday evening.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Santa Cruz
A bill signed into law Tuesday will offer some protections to month-to-month renters in Philadelphia from discriminatory or vindictive evictions. The bill, which City Council passed in early December, amends the Fair Housing Ordinance to require landlords to have a good reason for evicting someone with a lease lasting less than one year. As originally proposed, the bill covered all leases, but building owners and landlord associations said that put unfair burdens on landlords that could dissuade them from renting, and infringed on their ability to run their business.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
January 22, 2019
For Iván Contreras, it’s normal to hear complaints about sudden rent increases from his neighbors; usually a couple of new people each month will reach out. But so far in January, Contreras, a housing organizer in Queens with community group Woodside on the Move, said it’s closer to a couple per day, all coming to him with notices from the state that their landlords performed “Major Capital Improvements,” or MCIs, and now want to increase their rent.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
The government shutdown has hit the one-month mark, and subsidized housing programs are reeling. Between December and January, the contracts of 1,150 Section 8 units expired, putting in jeopardy the housing of tens of thousands of people enrolled in the project-based rental assistance subsidy program (over half of whom are elderly or disabled). Another 500 contracts are set to expire if the shutdown continues into February.
  • Affordable housing
After flirting with a handful of renter protection measures in November, the Half Moon Bay City Council decided to put them on the back burner because it wants to gather more data on renters and landlords in the city and it’s worried that such measures might bring unintended consequences.
  • Rent control
  • San Mateo
CHARLINE LAKE has not unpacked her boxes. It has been more than a year since she moved to Arlington after her apartment building in Somerville’s Davis Square was sold. The new owner forced the tenants out by doubling the rent, harassing them with unannounced construction and utility shut-offs, and, finally, by serving no-fault eviction notices to the holdouts.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
Oregon appears poised to impose statewide rent controls, a national first, and place new restrictions on evictions. It’s the second time rent control has been teed up as a major decision for the Legislature. This time, however, Democratic leaders in the Oregon House and Senate have united around a single proposal, and there’s little sign members of the majority party will defect to oppose it.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
Hundreds of low-income tenants at housing complexes in four states now face rent hikes thanks to the government shutdown. A property management company told the tenants in a letter this week that because of the shutdown, the federal government is no longer subsidizing their rent. “As of February 1, 2019, all tenants will be responsible for full basic rent,” said the letter, an image of which was tweeted Friday by a low-income housing advocate.
  • Rent increases
  • Affordable housing

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