News and Views
December 13, 2018
When Congress enacted a powerful new tax incentive that encourages investors to funnel capital gains into economically distressed areas, community leaders immediately began sounding alarm bells fearing gentrification. The concerns are particularly acute in already fast-growing tech hubs like Seattle and San Francisco.
December 13, 2018
At the corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street in East Harlem, in front of a closed Pathmark grocery -– “Pat ark” is all that remains of the name -- real estate broker John McGuinness paints a vision of the near future. The Pathmark transforms to a Trader Joe’s or a Fairway. Then come condos and affordable rentals, retail, offices.
When Amazon announced last month that it plans to open one of its two new corporate hubs in Crystal City, Virginia elected officials were exuberant. Gov. Ralph Northam called the company’s decision “a big win” for the state, and Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said it affirmed the county’s commitment to various priorities: “sustainability, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, and diversity.” The swath of Northern Virginia where Amazon is set to move even got a new, unofficial name—“National Landing”— heralding its future.
December 13, 2018
A settlement agreement is expected as soon as next month in a years-long legal dispute over a landlord’s attempt to evict tenants living illegally in units designated for office space, the San Francisco Examiner has learned. Residents living at 1049 Market St. received eviction notices in 2013 from the building’s owner, who had received a notice of violation for allowing tenants to live in units designated as commercial space only, as had been the practice for years.
December 4, 2018
A planned tenant housing relief measure was put on hold by city officials Tuesday in the face of potential litigation. The Santa Cruz City Council had scheduled a special meeting with two items on its agenda this week, scrambling to fit in some final legislative acts prior to the term expiration for three of seven members this month. Both a proposed 90-day minimum eviction notice requirement from landlords and lengthier decision on rules to ease development of homeowners’ secondary granny flats, however, were taken off the agenda after brief public comment for each.
November 11, 2018
Sacramento’s relative affordability has attracted streams of people fleeing the high rents and housing prices in the Bay Area. Along the way, California’s capital city has become less affordable.
November 8, 2018
The defeat of a ballot measure that would have allowed for the expansion of rent control across California has buoyed landlords and left tenants pinning their hopes on the state’s new governor for relief. Proposition 10 failed resoundingly with nearly 62% of voters rejecting the initiative as of results tallied Wednesday. The initiative would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which bans cities and counties from implementing more aggressive forms of rent control. The result means those prohibitions remain in place.
Proposition 10, the proposed initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, was stymied at the state ballot Tuesday thanks to an unprecedented $74 million in real estate industry opposition money, but there were also victories for rent control at local ballots across California.
Tenants Together has issued an open letter calling on the California Apartment Association and other groups representing California landlords to publicly condemn a rash of unethical and retaliatory rent hikes, evictions, and voter intimidation tactics to undermine support for Proposition 10, repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and its presence on the November 2018 ballot.
August 16, 2018
San Francisco’s YIMBY Action is facing a difficult choice, one that may define the group for years to come. Will the champions of “build, build, build” endorse Proposition 10, the state ballot prop that would repeal rent control advocate’s most pernicious roadblock, Costa Hawkins?
August 16, 2018
Proposals to force Bay Area cities to allow housing development at BART stations and to help those squeezed by the new federal cap on tax deductions were among the bills to survive the latest round of cuts Thursday at California’s Capitol. “Building housing near major transit hubs just makes sense,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who is carrying the BART bill, after his hotly debated Assembly Bill 2923 cleared Thursday’s committee hurdle.
The newest fight for state-level tenant protections was ignited by an old pamphlet.
Kathy and Kim Suszczewicz thought they would gain peace of mind when they moved into a three-bedroom rental home in a neat north Phoenix neighborhood in 2016. The family was rebuilding from losing their life savings, car and house after Kim was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer that required years of treatment and lost his engineering job.
August 15, 2018
This past February, Elizabeth McGriff, a resident of Rochester, New York, moved back into her home at 618 Cedarwood Terrace. It was no small act, following a foreclosure local housing activists deemed unjust, prompting more than five years of bank negotiations, eviction blockades, rallies, acts of civil disobedience, prayer services, lockouts and a “live-in,” in which McGriff and others moved back into the house after sheriff’s deputies removed her belongings.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved to impose temporary rent caps on mobile homes. The vote comes amid a broader, controversial push to remove barriers to rent control across California in response to rising housing costs. In a 3-1 vote, supervisors approved temporary caps on so-called space rents — the price park owners charge residents to keep their homes on the premises. The ordinance, which will come back for final approval next month, would be in effect for 180 days and limit rent increases to 3% a year for leases of 12 months and less.
August 14, 2018
Back in spring, Berkeley’s rent board jumped out in front of San Francisco on a vote that could bring the most significant change to California housing in decades. A grassroots campaign had just announced it had gathered enough signatures for Proposition 10, a statewide November ballot measure to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The 1995 state law took power from local governments, restricting their ability to enact or expand rent-control laws. In San Francisco, voters could face a similar measure next year.
Menlo Park is in the process of developing an ordinance that, if passed, could require landlords who evict tenants without cause or impose rent increases over a certain level to give cash to those displaced. While the city's Housing Commission discussed the terms of such a potential ordinance on Aug. 8, it left some matters still unresolved. The plan is to conduct public outreach before the matter is brought to the City Council, according to Clay Curtin, interim housing and economic development manager.
It's been an exciting and challenging summer for California tenants. The good news: through our collective power, we are fighting back. Here's just a slice of the work Tenants Together and our members, partners, and allies are doing this summer!
July 17, 2018
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Landlord Attack on Rent Control Fails to Qualify for 2018 Ballot Mountain View Rent Control Measure Survives Deceptive Repeal Campaign
July 11, 2018
The real-estate industry-backed effort to undermine Mountain View rent control failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. The so-called “Mountain View Homeowner, Renter, and Taxpayer Protection Initiative” would have placed a poison pill in the 2016 Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act, also known as Measure V, effectively eliminating the applicability of rent control to tenants across the city.