News and Views

Delaine Eastin is the only major candidate for California governor to unequivocally support a potential November ballot measure that would allow stronger local rent control laws across the state. Eastin, a Democrat and former state schools chief, said she supports the outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents rent control ordinances from applying to housing built after 1995, as well as single-family homes, duplexes and condos.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
The home at the center of a controversial eviction battle has been denied condo conversion plans by the San Francisco Planning Commission. The eviction and subsequent death of 100-year-old Iris Canada last year became the poster for displacement in San Francisco at the hand of real estate whims. Though the building owners of Canada’s decades-long home at 670 Page St. pressed on with condo conversion plans, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday to deny the application after public testimony.
  • Ellis Act
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
(This piece first appeared in Capital and Main) New research reveals that 11 percent of 5,000 Disneyland workers surveyed—custodians, food workers, musicians, cashiers, concierges—have been homeless at least once in the past year.
  • Affordable housing
  • Orange
The average rent for tenants living in rent-stabilized buildings in New York City grew by 3.1 percent in 2016, the lowest increase in six years, according to a new study released by the board that regulates rents in the city. The smaller uptick suggests that the historic freezes imposed on some rents in 2015 and 2016 had a noticeable impact on tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments — though there were still modest increases for some apartments.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
Residents of the Green Lantern Village in Westminster are fighting back against plans by the property owner to close the 130-space mobile home park, which they say would displace more than one hundred families in a county where affordable housing is increasingly scarce. Park residents—most of whom are seniors and low-income—have been up in arms since Walsh Properties LLC, owner of Green Lantern Village, requested a land use permit from the city last year to convert the property from a mobile home park to other types of housing.
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Affordable housing
  • Orange
The city's controversial renter relocation law is here to stay. After kneading out disagreements over the policy, the Portland City Council this morning unanimously expanded and made permanent the requirement that landlords pay between $2,900 and $4,500 in tenant moving expenses in some instances.
  • Relocation payments
  • Beyond California
California’s statewide renters’ rights organization today announced its formal support for a proposed state ballot measure to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and allow cities to pass stronger tenant protections. “Tenants Together and our member organizations across the state have been fighting for years to pass local rent control laws and dismantle state barriers like Costa-Hawkins and the Ellis Act,” noted Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together. “Costa-Hawkins has been a complete disaster and it needs to be repealed now.”  
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Santa Barbara, California, a coastal enclave boasting beautiful beachfront Spanish missions and a nearly $2 billion tourism industry, offers a postcard view of the state’s many natural advantages.
  • Affordable housing
Cities around the world are dealing with severe housing shortages and inflated housing costs. But nowhere is housing such a potent political issue as in California, whose unique geography, state policies, and activist culture have combined with a poorly distributed economic boom to create a “perfect storm”—the chosen words of multiple sources for this story.
Nancy Buttanda, 68, has watched in horror as her rent check eats up more and more of her fixed income. The rent on her apartment in Federal Way, Wash., has increased annually at least $100 a month for three or four years, she says, and her landlord rarely makes repairs. She now pays $1,245 a month for rent, water and trash, while living on pension, Social Security and disability payments that amount to around $3,300.
  • Rent control
  • Tenant organizing
  • Affordable housing
After a series of impassioned calls from landlords and renters representing two sides of a debate over tenant protections, Petaluma’s city council Monday opted not to pursue additional protections, instead investigating other measures to combat a housing crisis made worse by last year’s fires.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
  • Sonoma
California renters would gain new legal protections — and a doubled state tax credit — if lawmakers pass a package of bills announced Thursday amid pressure to help millions of people coping with the threat of eviction and lack of available rental housing. The proposals aim to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants, give renters more time to respond to eviction notices, and bar landlords from evicting all of their tenants while remaining in the rental business.
  • Eviction
California lawmakers are rolling out a series of new bills aimed at easing the state's housing crisis by helping renters who face eviction. Assembly Bill 2343 was introduced by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and co-authored by state Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. If passed, the bill would extend the period of time that tenants have to respond to eviction lawsuits so they can present a legitimate defense. It would also give them more time to pay their rent or comply with other contractual obligations in the lease.
  • Eviction
A new ordinance requires Oakland landlords to tell tenants their rights before paying or giving them other compensation to move out. The ordinance, approved by the City Council on Feb. 6, aims to regulate so-called “move out” agreements that are often done to circumvent state and local legal requirements and restrictions. It requires landlords to submit the agreements to the city’s rent adjustment program.
  • Relocation payments
  • Eviction
  • Alameda
The campaign to collect signatures for a potential rent control vote in November officially started this weekend with a kickoff event at MacArthur Park but it didn’t take long for opponents and supporters to clash and now both sides are claiming to be the victim. The rent control ballot initiative is being headed by a coalition of community groups including Housing Long Beach, a tenants rights group that for years has fought to bring stronger renters protections to a city that has about 60 percent of its residents paying rent.
  • Rent control
  • Tenant organizing
  • Los Angeles
A California Senate bill would double the state’s renter’s tax credit for the first time in nearly four decades. Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, introduced Senate Bill 1182 on Wednesday to increase the credit to $120 for individuals who earn $40,078 or less and $240 for joint filers with income of $80,156 or less. “The last time renters got a break, Jimmy Carter was president and Jerry Brown was 41 years old,” Glazer said in a statement. “Rents have skyrocketed since then but the renter’s tax credit has remained frozen in time.”
An Oak Park area renter is fighting an eviction effort that would force her from her apartment for what she says, is no good reason. Marie Camacho, a single mother who is also disabled, claims apartment owner Blackfriar targeted her for eviction because they wanted a tenant who could pay higher rent. Camacho is backed by the Alliance of Californians For Community Empowerment in her effort to fight the eviction.
  • Eviction
  • Sacramento
Landlords who evict tenants under the Ellis Act would have to give them a year’s notice — instead of four months — under one of three tenant-rights bills being introduced Thursday in the Legislature. Another bill would require landlords to wait 10 days — instead of three — to begin eviction proceedings against tenants who haven’t paid their rent on time. And a third bill would require landlords across the state to show “just cause” — a reasonable reason — before trying to force tenants out.
  • Eviction
Marc-André Giasson is joining a growing number of Toronto tenants who say they've been burned by a landlord claiming to need to their apartment for personal use, then putting it back on the market. Giasson's apartment was sold to new owners several months ago, and his former landlord told him that they needed it for their own use. So he signed a document agreeing to move out at the end of his one-year lease and began the onerous process of looking for a new place in a city where rental housing availability is at a 16-year low.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Under the brim of a cowboy hat, Curtis Pearl glances down 17th Street from the doorway of the Pensione K Apartments in downtown Sacramento. It’s Monday, February 5: This is the day the former oil rig worker is scheduled to be evicted. Ironically, Pearl has the money to pay his rent. He insists his predicament is one of principle—and geography.
  • Rent increases
  • Eviction
  • Sacramento

Help build power for renters' rights:

Sign up for alerts