News and Views

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
Not only are the roads getting crowded but so is the demand for housing. Cheap apartments are getting harder to find, as more and more people are looking to rent instead of buy. We’re becoming a nation of renters. The national rental search company RentCafe says in the decade after 2006, the number of renters increased by more than 23 million. That’s while fewer than 700,000 Americans became new homeowners. Almost a quarter of America’s cities changed from homeowner-majority to renter-majority. And some of the most dramatic changes were here in the Bay Area.
  • Rent increases
The national average U.S. multifamily rent rose by $1 in January 2018, to $1,368, matching the national average rent recorded in July 2017 by Yardi Matrix’s Matrix Monthly report. Rents rose 2.8% year over year (YOY) at the national level through January, a 20-basis-point jump from December 2018.
  • Rent increases
Bay Area renters hit with high prices and few choices last year may be in for more of the same in 2018. Rates for one- and two-bedroom apartments in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose last year stayed among the highest in the nation, according to new market reports. Scarce rentals and a robust local economy marked by steady tech hiring drove up Santa Clara County prices 3.2 percent from a year ago, according to real estate data firm Yardi Matrix.
  • Rent increases
Dale Duncan is trying to be a nice guy. He’s trying real, real hard. But, sometimes, it’s just too much. Anne Kihagi is just too much. And not just sometimes. “I’m not a big schadenfreude guy,” says the former Kihagi tenant who, last year, won a $3.5 million ruling against his erstwhile landlord after a fraudulent eviction from his family’s longtime Mission District flat — purportedly the largest such judgment in state history. “But,” he continues after a thoughtful pause, “It’s hard not to feel some schadenfreude right now.”
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • San Francisco
Rent control, long the scourge of New York City landlords, is becoming more popular across the country. Lawmakers and tenant advocates in California, Illinois and Washington state are looking to repeal laws banning cities from imposing rent control or limits to regulate rent increases, the Wall Street Journal reported. California is poised to be the largest battleground this year. Advocates have gathered 100,000 of the roughly 365,000 signatures required to put a measure on the ballot in November to repeal a 20-year-old law that put statewide limits on rent control.
  • Rent control
After garnering more than 100,000 signatures within the last month, the initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act — a 1995 state law that limits the scope of local rent control ordinances — is likely to appear on November’s ballot. The Costa-Hawkins Act prohibits cities from establishing rent control on certain units, including single-family dwellings, condominiums and housing built after 1995. It also has a “vacancy decontrol” provision that allows rent to increase after a tenant moves out.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
San Diego is the 10th most expensive city in the United States for renters, with a one-bedroom apartment renting for an average of $1,710 per month in February, according to a new report. The report by Zumper, a national online apartment and home rental marketplace, also ranked San Diego as the fifth most expensive city for renters in California. San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and Oakland all had higher rental rates as February began. The one-bedroom rental rate in San Diego in February was 6.9 percent higher than a year ago.
  • Rent increases
  • San Diego
Chaos erupts after a measure that would have strengthened rent control failed to pass the State Assembly Housing Committee three weeks ago -- a major setback for tenants in the midst of the housing crisis. Dozens of those protesters live in buildings owned by the largest landlord in San Francisco, Veritas Investments. I-Team Reporter Dan Noyes has been investigating complaints about the company.
  • Rent increases
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • San Francisco
Los Angeles rental prices went nowhere in January, remaining exactly where they were a month before, according to a new report from Apartment List. Citywide, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,340 per month, while two-bedroom rentals fetch $1,730. Rents have shot up four percent since this time last year, says the report, but prices have actually dropped off a bit since August, when they hit $1,350 for a one-bedroom and $1,740 for two-bedroom units.
  • Rent increases
  • Los Angeles
Nearly all the cities and counties in California — 97.6 percent — are failing to approve the housing needed to keep pace with population growth and will be subject to a new law that aims to fast-track development, according to a report released by the state Thursday.
  • Affordable housing
Homes were already scarce and rents were skyrocketing in the county’s second largest city before deadly fires destroyed more than 5,000 homes in surrounding municipalities. Housing advocates, exasperated at what they views as a lack of city leadership on the issue, have attended several city council meetings since the October firestorm to plead with elected officials for more action on the housing crisis. The city will hold its first public forum about housing solutions Feb. 12, more than four months after the disaster.
  • Affordable housing
  • Sonoma

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