News and Views

Rent control, until now the domain of Chicago’s far political left, could be going mainstream with two major Democratic candidates for governor endorsing the concept. State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston and Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker each say they would support legislation to lift a statewide ban preventing local governments from limiting how much rent landlords can charge. Lifting the ban, which was enacted by the Legislature in 1997, would allow home rule units such as the city of Chicago to enact ordinances controlling rent increases.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
According to Mike Rosenberg, the Seattle Times business reporter, rents in King and Snohomish counties are finally falling "significantly" for the first time in a decade. By significant, he means a 2.9 percent drop "as compared to the prior quarter." Rosenberg suggests that the market is removing some power from landlords and transferring it to renters because the number of empty apartments is growing. All of this sounds like supply and demand have not been de-linked and deformed by unknown forces.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
Beginning just after midnight Tuesday, as many as 50,000 people who cannot afford to pay the going rate for a rental home or apartment in Sacramento County will start rolling the dice in a lottery for subsidized housing. The odds are long: Only 7,000 spots on the housing authority’s waiting list are available. And those who manage to land a spot on the list likely will have to wait more than a year before suitable housing becomes available.
  • Affordable housing
  • Sacramento
A week before Christmas, Linda Morales spotted a bright orange notice from the Planning Department taped to the side of her Potrero Hill apartment building. The notice at 701 Hampshire St. informed tenants of planned renovations by the building’s landlord. The plans include adding a fourth story to the six-unit apartment building — increasing its height from 26 feet to 37 feet — and removing five ground-floor parking spaces to make room for two additional residential units.
  • Rent control
  • Eviction
  • San Francisco
Thousands of San Francisco hosts on Airbnb and rival home-stay sites have stopped renting their homes and rooms to tourists. Many others are scrambling to register their vacation rentals with the city as a Tuesday deadline looms for Airbnb and HomeAway to kick off unregistered hosts. “If you look at the sites, you’ll notice a substantial reduction in the number of listings,” said Kevin Guy, director of the San Francisco Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement.
  • Demolition/conversion of rental housing
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
A family in the East Bay just learned their rent is about to go up by 133 percent: from $1,500 dollars a month to $3,500. Surprisingly, the tenant says he’s willing to pay the $2,000 rent increase, he just wants the owner to spread out that increase over three years. The owner is saying no. The city of Alameda is siding with the tenant, but there’s not a whole lot the city can do. It’s a modest three bedroom condo on Bay Farm Island in Alameda.
  • Rent increases
  • Alameda
In a major victory for landlords, a state bill introduced by Santa Monica lawmaker Richard Bloom that would allow California cities to expand rent control failed to pass out of committee Thursday. AB 1506 -- which failed on a 3-2 vote in a raucous meeting of the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee -- would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that dealt a major blow to rent control in cities such as Santa Monica.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
Moments before an Assembly committee killed a bill that would’ve made it easier to expand rent control in California, Assemblyman David Chiu made a serious prediction. “Regardless of the outcome,” the San Francisco Democrat warned on Thursday, “this will not be the end of the conversation. It’s just the beginning.” And with that, Assembly Bill 1506, of which Chiu was a co-sponsor, died on a 3-2 vote.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
January 12, 2018
The fight to protect the culture, character and condition of South Los Angeles is escalating just as quickly as the community's home values. The median cost of a house in the Crenshaw District rose 47.3 percent from 2014 to 2017, from $444,000 to $655,000, according to online real estate hub Trulia. Housing-rights activists and organizers say they are disturbed about what's happening right in their own backyard, and they refuse to sit by idly.
  • Affordable housing
  • Los Angeles
State legislation that would have expanded rent control in California failed Thursday after a lengthy and heated debate that brought landlord and tenant groups from across the state to the Capitol. At issue was a bill that would have repealed a nearly quarter-century-old law that prohibits cities and counties from implementing most new rent control policies. The measure died after four members of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, including Democrats Ed Chau of Arcadia and Jim Wood of Healdsburg, declined to support it.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
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

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