News and Views

California lawmakers killed a bill Thursday that likely would have expanded rent control laws in cities and counties, setting the stage for a protracted statewide battle over how to rein in the state’s soaring housing costs. Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s Assembly Bill 1506 died in the Assembly’s housing committee. The 3-2 vote set off protests in the committee room, with angry tenants chanting, “Housing is a human right,” and “Repeal Costa-Hawkins.” The bill needed four votes to get out of committee.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
A closely watched attempt to repeal a California law restricting rent control died at a packed committee hearing Thursday, but proponents vow to keep fighting — and, if they get nowhere in the Capitol, to take the issue straight to voters. “I think there is no choice but for the conversation to continue and for us to try to find common ground,” said a disappointed Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, the main author of Assembly Bill 1506.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Hundreds of housing activists and pro-rent control tenants are expected to flood the Capitol this morning for a hearing on a controversial bill shelved last year amid intense opposition from the state’s real estate industry. Assembly Bill 1506 from Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica would repeal a state law known as Costa-Hawkins, clearing the way for California cities and counties to strengthen local rent control measures.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
A bill aimed at expanding rent control in California won't be moving forward in the Legislature. The legislation by Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica was one vote short of passage Thursday in an Assembly committee. The Democrat's proposal would have repealed a 1995 law that prohibits cities from placing rent control on properties built after that year. It would not have mandated new rent control. Bloom says tenants across California need relief from high rents.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
The effort to allow cities to impose effective rent controls failed in a state Assembly committee today after two Democrats refused to vote for the bill. The repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act needed four votes to move forward. It died, 3-2, when Assemblymembers Jim Wood of Healdsburg and Ed Chau of Arcadia abstained from voting. That continues a disturbing pattern of Democrats siding with the real-estate industry on tenant issues. Demorats control the Governor’s Office and have super-majorities in both houses of the Legislature, but the landlords still seem to rule.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Hundreds of tenants and landlords came to the Capitol Thursday to voice their stance on a bill that would have expanded rent control in California. The proposal, which would have repealed a law called Costa-Hawkins, which prohibits rent control on properties that were built after 1995, failed to pass a vote by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. Tenants' rights advocates say repealing Costa-Hawkins would help protect tenants from rapidly rising rents.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Hundreds of San Francisco and Bay Area residents trekked to Sacramento Thursday morning, waiting in lines that stretched out of the State Capitol building, to tell the California State Assembly whether they oppose or support AB 1506, a bill that would give cities the opportunity to create new rent-controlled housing. The bill ultimately failed to pass the Housing and Community Development Committee, falling one vote short of the necessary threshold to move forward. However, backers of the bill, which would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, promised to revive it.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Last week tenant activists breathed new life into AB 1506, the state bill to repeal Costa Hawkins. Costa Hawkins creates landlord loopholes to undermine local rent control. AB 1506 was tabled this year as a two-year bill (often a death knell in the Capitol). BUT we brought it back through a series of actions on Assemblymember Chiu (the chair of the Housing Committee), Assemblymember Bloom (the lead author of the bill), and leadership Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (over 500 letters sent by you!).
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Marin landlords will now be required to enter into mediation with their tenants if they increase rents more than 5 percent within a 12-month period. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance imposing the new requirement. The mediation requirement also will be triggered if a landlord reduces services to a tenant, if that service reduction is equivalent to more than a 5 percent rent hike. Landlords will be required to notify their tenants of the new ordinance by Feb. 12.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Marin
Tenant rights advocates are pushing back against a bill aimed at standardizing housing regulations across Wisconsin municipalities. Senate Bill 639 addresses the relationship between property owners and municipal government including landlords' repair costs, credit background checks and building inspections. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Capitol in room 411 South.
  • Beyond California
  • Housing conditions/habitability
One by one, Frances Moore has watched friends and neighbors move into cars, tents and encampments. Many in crisis often turn to the 62-year-old Oakland woman, who provides free meals to the homeless, but she has found it increasingly difficult to hear their stories of displacement. That’s because she knows she could soon be next.
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
We’ve all heard about rising rents in Boston. According to Zillow, the average two-bedroom apartment in the city goes for $2,300. Imagine someone helped you to rent an apartment, but they said you can only rent a place that costs what an apartment did in 2005. “With no rent control, it is extremely hard,” said 35-year-old Ashesha Rockette.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
Every Tuesday, Frances Moore collects a loaf of bread from Sweet Adeline Bakeshop for her food giveaway at Driver Plaza in North Oakland. Last week, though, the longtime community organizer also delivered a letter imploring her neighbor and landlord, a bakeshop employee, not to evict her from her nearby home of more than eight years.
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
A federal district court judge in Oakland, California, has given the go-ahead for tenants of one of the largest landlords in America to pursue a class-action lawsuit alleging unlawful and excessive fees to renters who are late on payments.
  • Rent increases
  • Consumer protections
San Francisco is likely to provide free legal representation for tenants facing eviction. But in this City’s fractious political climate, the devil’s always in the details. Following in the footsteps of New York City’s historic Right to Civil Counsel program for eviction proceedings, two competing efforts in San Francisco seek to ensure free legal representation for renters fighting to stay in their homes.
  • Civil Gideon
  • San Francisco
Washington cities are prohibited from regulating rent prices, but one lawmaker wants to change that. Democratic state Representative Nicole Macri says she'll propose a bill in 2018 to end the rent control ban. Macri, a resident of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, says it's time for lawmakers to take dramatic action and give local communities more control over rental housing. She lives near an elementary school where many students don't have permanent housing.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
Amina Rubio thought little of the notice she received in the mail in October 2016 informing her that the Powell Street apartment building where she’s lived for nearly 20 years was under new management. At the time, the name of her building’s new owners, Veritas Investments and its subsidiary, Greentree Property Management — one of the largest landlords in San Francisco — didn’t ring any bells, so it was a fact of life easily tucked away in the back of her mind.
  • Rent control
  • San Francisco
Extra assistance for renters who are displaced through no-fault evictions failed to pass a second reading at the Oakland City Council last night after Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington had the legislation pulled from the agenda's consent portion of the calendar and scheduled for a future council meeting's non-consent portion, where it will likely be debated and amended.
  • Relocation payments
  • Rent control
A Los Angeles City council member Wednesday proposed banning or regulating the practice of renting out vehicles for people to live in within city limits. Council member Mitch Englander's motion cites KPCC reporting on the growing sub-economy of RV and van rentals for homeless people. "They're not safe for the community, where you have sewage overspilling next to parks commercial zones and next to schools," said Englander. "Do we ban them, do we make it criminal, do we have rules and regulations? We've got to have the conversation."
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles
The Los Angeles City Council has shown only lukewarm support for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed “linkage fees,” which would be funded by developers and earmarked for low-income housing. But even as the policy has stalled on a citywide level (it was finally green-lit by a key committee in August), a coalition of advocates has been steadily working on other ways to create developer incentives and get more affordable homes built in South Central L.A.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles

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