News and Views

A typical two-bedroom apartment at market rates in Santa Monica required a yearly income of $111,000 last year, according to an annual update on the state of the City’s troubled rent control system. It also shows dramatic rent differences in apartments that haven’t been vacated under the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and are still pegged to the 1979 caps on rent.
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
In early 2016, Ani Rivera’s landlord offered her a $5,000 buyout to leave the place she called home in the Mission and Bernal Heights area. Then, the landlord began showing the property to prospective buyers. Anxiety and vulnerability set in. Rivera was uncertain how to proceed. Her post as executive director of the Mission nonprofit Galeria de la Raza was called into question, as Rivera believed she needed to live in the community to properly serve it.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
For decades, the question of where Los Angeles should build housing has been a local matter. Real estate developers have mostly relied on an elaborate web of city zoning rules to figure out how tall a new residential building can be, how many parking spaces it must have, and how many homes can be built on a particular piece of property.
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles
When did the endless debate over the unfairness of California’s housing market become such an exercise in missing the point? Developers huff and puff about rent control and how, if it’s enacted, the construction of apartment buildings will grind to a screeching halt, exacerbating the housing crisis. Renters rant about how they don’t care because they need help – now. And political candidates, well, they try to have it both ways.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • Sacramento
Clipboards in hand, signature-gatherers are fanning out across four Southern California cities this month, turning up at supermarkets and metro stops and apartment complexes to pitch a measure for the November ballot that they say will be salvation for renters. But for landlords, their pitch is blasphemy. At issue is whether the cities of Long Beach, Inglewood, Glendale and Pasadena should join a tiny band of California cities that already have rent control and “just cause” eviction laws that prevent landlords from ousting tenants in good standing.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles
The tenant-landlord relationship has always been tenuous, with horror stories on both sides: nosy landlords who get up in your business, refuse to fix a leaky refrigerator or broken windows. Tenants who steal appliances, ruin carpet and fail to pay rent for months. Those are the exceptions, but some disputes can end in evictions or lawsuits that sour the relationship with those who follow.
  • Beyond California
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge sided Friday with a man who was accused of running an illegal hotel in Venice Beach, concluding that renting out apartment units in his building for short stays was not banned under city codes. Carl Lambert was one of several people targeted by the city attorney two years ago and accused of operating apartment buildings as illegal hotels.
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Los Angeles
The Rules, Election, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee today voted to approve the Resolution from city councilmember David Ryu (CD4) and seconded by Herb Wesson (CD10) to oppose State Senate Bill (S.B.) 827. The bill, which would allow for significant upzoning within a half-mile of a train station or a quarter-mile of a major bus/transit stop and would exempt those new developments from parking requirements, has come under fire for the extent to which it overrides local control over development.
  • Los Angeles
Even if cities pass rent control today, such measures won’t apply to apartments that are at least 23 years old or to houses or condos of any age. But if a group of activists gets their way, California voters will have the ability to eliminate those restrictions next November. A ballot-initiative drive is underway to repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, which severely limits rent control in the state. The law prohibits rent control for condominiums, single-family homes or new construction — anything built after 1995 or after a city first established rent control.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
When Congress voted last year to sharply reduce corporate income taxes, it undermined the nation’s largest subsidized housing program. This week’s federal spending compromise may help shore it up. The program, called the low-income housing tax credit, enables corporations to lower their taxes by helping to finance low-cost housing. Lower corporate tax rates made the credit less useful, alarming developers and agencies that provide housing for the poor in rural America and large cities.
  • Affordable housing
A moratorium on what some are calling a loophole to Oakland’s rent control ordinances is being extended another six months as city officials figure out a permanent solution. Before the moratorium, the exemption allowed landlords to raise rents after making repairs to their property. City Council members voted Tuesday for the extension, which will go into effect after the original moratorium — passed in November — expires. It is scheduled for a final reading April 17.
  • Rent control
  • Alameda
A ballot initiative could relieve Californians squeezed by rising rent prices. The initiative, led by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, is pushing to repeal the state's 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents rent control from being applied to all housing built after 1995.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • San Diego
Saying it needed more time for consideration, Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board Thursday tabled a motion calling for a measure on the November ballot to expand local rent control. The motion asked the board to recommend a City measure for next fall’s election to expand rent control to apartment buildings that have seen many rents soar after the passage of the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and, potentially, to others not covered by rent control. A “yes” vote would have sent the final decision to the City Council.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • Los Angeles
The steps up to Sarah Johnson’s apartment are decorated with sand dollars that she collects, often on walks with her grandson. Inside, light streams into her living room, which she likes, because it makes her feel almost like she’s outside.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
When Sarah Johnson decided last year to leave behind a career at San Francisco State University that spanned three decades, she did not think that her retirement would come at the cost of her home. Four years ago, Johnson moved into a one-bedroom apartment in University Park South, which contains 145 SF State-owned apartments located across the street from the main campus at 1900 Holloway Ave. Of those units, 51 that are set aside specifically for faculty and staff. Johnson hoped this would be the last move that she would have to make.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
After hearing from anxious landlords and tenants, Santa Monica’s Rent Control Board on Thursday asked staff to explore if -- and by how much -- both can share the rising costs of surcharges property owners now pass through to renters. The board ordered more analysis on the possibility of instituting a cap on the total in surcharges the renters can absorb, based, for example, on total rent paid. These surcharges rise in buildings that are reassessed when they sell.
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
The Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) was scheduled to host a meeting this week on the local rent control movement. Fifty-seven percent of Pasadena residents are renters, according to the PTU, and 42.9 percent are homeowners. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Pasadena has risen more than 51.7 percent in the past six years, with rents on some one bedroom apartments totaling as much as $2,200.
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
In 2017, with virtually no fanfare, the appellate division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court wiped out a critical piece of West Hollywood’s rent stabilization ordinance. The provision allowed tenants to get reimbursed for attorney fees when victorious in standing up for their rights during eviction proceedings. Because of this provision, tenants in West Hollywood were more likely to have a lawyer with them and, consequently, were some of the least likely tenants in California to be evicted and become homeless.
  • Eviction
Faced with the mounting possibility that a rent control ordinance could get the required amount of signatures to qualify for the ballot this November the Long Beach City Council is taking proactive measures to address questions that surround the proposed policy.
  • Rent control
  • Los Angeles
The Board of Directors of Pasadenans Organizing for Progress voted unanimously Tuesday to fully endorse the Pasadena Tenants Union initiative campaign to amend the Pasadena City Charter to establish rent control. The Amendment would also establish a Rental Housing Board and establish just cause eviction criteria according to which tenants may be evicted.
  • Rent control
  • Costa Hawkins Act
  • Los Angeles

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