News and Views
July 3, 2017
It is shaping up to be a long, hot summer for San Mateo renters as monthly fees due to landlords ticked up by nearly 4 percent in last year, continuing a steady incline for the past six months, according to a recent report. The report from ApartmentList.com showed the median rent for a one-bedroom unit is $3,450 and a two-bedroom unit is $4,330, while the hikes follow a trend consistent throughout the region.
July 3, 2017
Not too long ago, Bay Area renters began to feel some relief. In the latter part of 2016, analysts described softening rents and, indeed, a plateau appeared to have emerged early this year. But here we go again. The cost of renting an apartment moved up in June across the region, according to a new analysis from ApartmentList.com, a website that tracks the national rental market. Nationwide, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,150, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier. Most Bay Area cities were about double that, or more.
UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW students fed-up with high rents for rubbish flats and financial malpractice by rogue landlords are taking matters into their own hands by establishing a vetting service of local accommodation lets. A voluntary network of students organised by the university’s Student Representative Council have established a “Private Accommodation Viewing Service (PAVS)” to check that advertised accommodation “is safe to live in”. Armed with a check-list of enquiries, landlords will be questioned on the return of deposits and the safety of student flats.
For nearly two decades, Judge Marcia Sikowitz has presided over landlord-tenant disputes in one of New York City's busiest housing courts. In a borough where rapid gentrification has sent rents soaring, Sikowitz says, she has heard it all — and said it all. When a renter who was representing himself in an eviction proceeding would ask her advice, the judge had a rote retort: "I'm not your lawyer and I can't tell you what to do."
A mural on the wall of an elementary school here proclaimed, “All the world is all of us,” but the hundreds of people packing the auditorium one night were determined to stop a low-income housing project from coming to their upscale neighborhood. The proposed 233-unit building, which was to be funded with federal tax credits, would burden their already overcrowded elementary school with new children, many people argued during a lively meeting last year. Some urged the Houston Housing Authority to pursue cheaper sites elsewhere.
Two apartment buildings condemned by the city of Merced left 32 people on the street this week, according to advocates. The 12 units were condemned on June 22 because the “complex is deemed substandard and poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of the occupants,” according to notices placed on the unit doors. In the displaced group were children, seniors and adults, including two pregnant women, advocates said.
Los Angeles lawmakers voted Friday to allow a pair of Beverly Grove apartment buildings to be converted into condominiums, overriding the objections of tenant activists who argue that flawed data is fueling the elimination of sorely needed rental units. The furor over the buildings comes as activists and lawmakers have raised concerns about how the city gauges the vacancy rate — a crucial figure for deciding whether apartments can be converted into condos.
June 29, 2017
As I wrote in the Spring of 2016, grounded for 35 years in the Sunset District, Mariella Morales is braced with Pachamama beliefs from her childhood in Peru, that humans are bound to live in a manner that supports a sustainable future that works for all. Mariella says she will not let the newly-rich displace her from the wooden floors and the backyard earth she and her children have walked on for more than three decades
June 29, 2017
Cities Diverge on Housing Three recently enacted measures have transformed San Francisco into the Bay Area leader for addressing housing affordability. Meanwhile, Berkeley is in full retreat. At its June 27 meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed two critical pieces of housing affordability legislation. First, it cracked down on owner move in eviction scams by allowing nonprofit enforcement against wrongdoers. Second, it passed the new inclusionary rules that the Board had agreed to earlier in June.
California Lawmakers Have Tried for 50 Years to Fix the State's Housing Crisis. Here's Why They've Failed
June 29, 2017
But all those new homes came from projects approved before 2012 that home builders are just now putting on the market. And the city has turned away other developers interested in building housing where the city’s plan said they could, Perez said. Since early 2015, Foster City’s median home value has increased 13% to a record $1.5 million, more than seven times the national average.
Boyle Heights tenants facing eviction for refusing to pay rent increases of up to 80 percent will be protesting outside their apartment complex on Wednesday, joined by other renters fed up with skyrocketing housing costs. Tenants at 1815 E. 2nd St., just a block away from Mariachi Plaza, said they started receiving eviction notices on Saturday, after communications with their landlord broke down. Five of the seven households ordered to leave include mariachis.
June 28, 2017
San Francisco clamped down on fraudulent owner move-in evictions Tuesday and after a six-month debate adopted new affordable housing requirements for developers — two issues that began with sharp political division but ended in unanimous votes. Still, there was a lengthy debate over the details of how to crack down on illegal owner move-in evictions, and a narrow 6-5 vote rejected a tougher restriction on tenant buyout agreements.
Crackdown on Fraudulent S.F. Evictions Passes Unanimously After NBC Bay Area Investigation Reveals Widespread Abuse
June 28, 2017
With a unanimous vote approving significant changes to the city’s housing laws, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors signaled Tuesday it intends to crack down on landlords who illegally evict tenants in order to turn a larger profit.
Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) is attempting to limit Marin County’s affordable housing regulations more than any other county in California with a provision called Assembly Bill 121. The bill was attached to the state budget, which has already been approved, meaning it does not have to stand up to scrutiny at the committee stage. Marin County has an average household income of $133,128, compared to the 2015 national average of $56,516. The Los Angeles Times reports that wealth disparity between the rich and poor in Marin County is one of the largest in the state.
June 28, 2017
Local politics is always, in one way or another, about housing. In San Francisco, a deep blue city whose fault lines long ago ceased to resemble America’s, that politics is a vitriolic civic scrimmage, where people who agree about almost every national issue make sworn enemies over zoning, demolition, and development. It’s like a circular firing squad at a co-op meeting.
If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the process can be simple. In many cases in Los Angeles, and across California, property owners only have to state they are ending the lease. No justification is needed — only notices of at least 30 days to provide some time to move out. Now, amid an affordable housing shortage and reports that low-income tenants are being displaced for wealthier renters, Los Angeles is exploring whether to require landlords to show “just cause” to evict, reasons that would include damaging a unit, creating a nuisance or not paying rent.
June 28, 2017
San Francisco will not be allowed to require landlords who go out of the rental business to pay their evicted tenants as much as $50,000 to cover the higher rents they’ll face on the open market. A ruling striking down a city ordinance that would have mandated the payments became final Wednesday when the state Supreme Court declined to review it.
A change to the city’s rent ordinance aimed at giving tenants protection from unfair evictions is now on hold after landlords submitted a petition to the City Clerk that supports putting the issue on the ballot. A total of 4,808 of the approximately 7,300 signatures on the petition must be verified as from registered Alameda voters before the City Council can opt to remove the amendment, or ask voters to decide whether it should remain.
June 28, 2017
First They Came for the Homeless, a group protesting the criminalization of homelessness, has camped out at the “Here There” sign at the Berkeley-Oakland border for several months. The lifespan of the tent city is notable in the wake of a string of clear-outs of the group’s previous encampments.
Finally, after several years of punishing rent hikes, the pain is finally coming to an end for renters across the country. Except in Seattle. New reports show that rents throughout the Seattle area continue to surge at among the highest rates in the country. Meanwhile, other pricey cities like New York and San Francisco are now seeing rents drop, while the average U.S. rent has basically remained flat.