News and Views

Ramon Rios-Parada has lived in Hayward his whole life and can see that things are slowly changing. When the time came for the 32-year-old social worker at La Familia Neighborhood Resource Center to look for his own place to rent, he heard stories from friends about rents in Hayward being high. What he found were studio and one-bedroom apartment rents looming around $1,200 a month and homeowners charging around $950 a month to rent individual rooms.
  • Rent increases
  • Affordable housing
  • Alameda
January 18, 2018
On the night of January 7, as temperatures around the city plummeted to 6 degrees, a pipe burst in the hallway at 1231 Broadway in Brooklyn, cutting off the cold water supply to Gabriel Martinez’s second-floor apartment.
  • Beyond California
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Eviction
San Francisco has succeeded in purging thousands of illegal short-term rental listings from Airbnb’s website, a long sought-after crackdown by those who blame the company for exacerbating the housing crisis. The purge was the result of a 2016 law adopted by the Board of Supervisors to require websites to only allow short-term rentals from those registered to do so with The City, or face penalties.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland Housing Authority officials today announced new financial incentives for property owners to accept low-income families as renters and help ease the city's affordable housing crisis. Speaking at a news conference at the OHA's headquarters in downtown Oakland, Schaaf said the incentives, which haven't previously been offered anywhere in the U.S., are "a win-win solution" for property owners and low-income tenants who participate in the federal Section 8 housing choice voucher program.
  • Affordable housing
  • Alameda
Rent is on the rise in the Central Valley. The Central Valley experienced some of the fastest growing rents in the mid-sized city category, according to a study by RENTCafe, a website that connects renters with properties. The five-year analysis revealed that the average rent in Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Modesto, Turlock and Merced has risen year over year since 2013, Stockton placed No. 2 on a list of fastest growing mid-sized U.S. cities in terms of rent increases, with a 7.8 percent rent increase year over year.
  • Rent increases
Rats left to breed unchecked. Heat and electricity cut off. Landlords demanding to see tenants’ IDs. Those are only a few of the tenant harassment tactics detailed in a new report that chronicles one of New York’s more insidious problems: predatory equity.
  • Retaliation/harassment
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
It was a car accident that catapulted Gina Owens into advocacy. In 2000, Owens was working as a medical assistant and activism wasn’t on her radar, but a collision left her with disabilities that prevented her from continuing with her job. The landlords of her Central District apartment were understanding … for a time. They allowed her to pay about 75 percent of her $475 rent as she searched for new work. She survived on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families prior to earning disability payments. But she was evicted from her apartment once the backlog on her owed rent reached $1,000.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Assembly Closes Door on Legislative Fix Last week, the Democratic-controlled Assembly Housing Committee voted down a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act. And with committee members like Ed Chau, who represents Monterrey Park, treating the tenant side with contempt, Democrats demonstrated that future legislative action is pointless. Dean Preston, Director of the statewide group Tenants Together, set forth Chau’s approach to the legislation (AB 1506) on Facebook:
  • Costa Hawkins Act
A bill to repeal statewide restrictions on rent control is dead in the water. The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act was passed in 1995, prohibiting cities from establishing rent control for single family homes or any newly constructed buildings (anything built after 1995). After being stalled for over a year, the bill to repeal those restrictions (AB1506) was given its first public hearing on Friday, January 11. The bill was one shy of the four votes needed to move forward.
  • Costa Hawkins Act
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

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