News and Views

Just before Christmas, Tracy heard a sharp knock on the door of the Chittenden County home she shares with her two young boys. A sheriff's deputy handed the 28-year-old nursing assistant a legal notice indicating that she was being evicted from her apartment for nonpayment of rent and needed to be out by January 3. "It was like, 'Merry Christmas! Find a new home,'" recalled Tracy, who declined to be identified by her real name for fear of further jeopardizing her housing.
  • Eviction
Half of California’s renters spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing— housing experts call it “rent burdened.” A third of the state’s renters are considered “severely burdened” because they spend half of their paycheck on rent. And rents in the state keep going up. So, what rights do tenants have when the landlord asks for more? KPBS’s Amita Sharma reached out to two experts for their perspective.
  • Rent increases
  • Rent control
  • Eviction
January 16, 2019
As Seattle’s median income has continued to rise in recent years, high-rent burdens have plagued lower-income renters, some of whom are falling behind on rent. A September 2018 report by the Seattle Women’s Commission and the Housing Justice Project of the King County Bar Association showed that 86.5 percent of the nearly 1,500 Seattle residents who faced eviction proceedings in 2017 had failed to pay their rent.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Rents are likely to rise faster for older, class-B apartments in 2019 than for any other class of apartment property. We expect Class-B to continue to have the strongest average rent growth, as it has through recent history,” says Andrew Rybczynski, senior consultant at research firm the CoStar Group.
  • Rent increases
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, Jan. 15, to spend $5 million to prevent housing discrimination, including drafting an ordinance to prohibit landlords from denying renters who use Section 8 vouchers. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl recommended doing more to enforce and expand protections offered by federal fair housing laws in place for decades.
  • Section 8 Discrimination
  • Los Angeles
Dozens of families are facing the risk of homelessness after receiving eviction notices from one of Britain’s biggest and most controversial buy-to-let tycoons. Fergus Wilson is giving 90 households in Ashford, Kent two months to get out after he decided to sell his 700 property portfolio in the county estimated to be worth more than £200m. He is expected to issue hundreds more evictions in the coming months before retiring to “take life easy”.
  • Beyond California
  • Eviction
Gov. Kate Brown supports a bill that would limit how much Oregon landlords could increase rents and eliminate no-cause evictions of long-term tenants, her office said Friday. Brown believes those ideas “are innovative and will give renters some peace of mind,” spokeswoman Kate Kondayen said. The endorsement increases the likelihood Oregon will enact notable tenant protections amid a housing shortage after failing to pass similar laws in 2017.
  • Rent control
  • Beyond California
December 19, 2018
Oakland didn't build much new housing from 2009 to 2016, but in the last two years the city has experienced a historic housing construction boom. According to the Oakland Mayor's Office, as of December, there were 8,641 units of housing under construction in The Town, with another 7,898 units in the pipeline (approved or proposed). When those apartment buildings and high-rises are completed, Oakland not only will have a new skyline, but the city will have easily surpassed it regional housing goals for the next five years.
  • Affordable housing
Adrianne Todman remembers sitting across the table from landlords and hearing what they really thought of the Washington, D.C., Housing Authority. "We asked, 'What drives you nuts?'" Todman says, and the landlords had been willing to answer.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
A Miami campaign called Smash the Slumlords started years ago when low-income tenants were fighting absentee landlords who had let their property devolve into a moldy, leaky health hazard. But the name reflects the fighting spirit that is needed to get any sort of affordable housing done in a hot real estate market.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
December 18, 2018
Since the publication of his book Evicted in 2016, sociologist Matthew Desmond has become the best-known chronicler of a quiet epidemic sweeping the United States today: eviction. Drawing on the book’s fine-grained account of how eviction plays out in Milwaukee, the country’s most segregated city, he has since sought to assemble a more panoramic, national picture of this crisis as the founder of the Eviction Lab, based at Princeton University.
  • Eviction
  • Affordable housing
Beginning in January, landlords who rent three or more units in unincorporated Marin will be required to have a “just cause” for evicting tenants. The Marin County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that creates the new requirement. Supervisors did so after years of lobbying by housing advocates who called for them to take more effective action to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in Marin. “I am supportive of the ordinance as drafted; I think it’s been very carefully crafted,” said Supervisor Katie Rice.
  • Eviction
  • Marin
More than 50 people rallied in front of San Rafael City Hall on Monday demanding city officials adopt tighter renter protections as a planned 65 percent rent increase in the Canal area threatens to displace many long-term tenants. The rent hikes were sent to residents by the new landlord of a 28-unit apartment complex on Dec. 1. Many residents received notices that their rent would increase by $900 or more, effective Feb. 1.
  • Rent increases
  • Marin
December 18, 2018
The City’s transit agency is telling RV dwellers to drive off into the sunset. It’s a major reversal for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which previously pushed back against banning oversize vehicles where homeless people slept. Now, with The City exploring new ways to help that specific homeless population, the SFMTA is preparing signage saying “no” to oversize vehicles on specific city streets. And the tiny street where the latest round of the battle over homeless residents living in RVs began, De Wolf Street, is among them.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
Tiffany Brown tells Spectrum New 1 when she rewinds back to 2008 her life was full of chaos. Addiction, homelessness and not being able to see her children on a regular basis haunted her life. A decade though later she's reinvented herself and what she sees for her future.
  • Beyond California
  • Affordable housing
Despite the booming economy, homelessness in the United States rose slightly for the second year in a row, with spikes in high-rent cities like New York and Seattle, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Affordable housing
An East Hollywood apartment building had a stripped roof for ongoing repairs when rains hit Southern California in early December, so it's now life with water stained walls and floors, but without ceilings and cabinets for tenants. "This is not right for us," said Matilda Castillo, who, like her neighbors, has chosen to remain, even though her unit now lacks a functioning kitchen.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
  • Los Angeles
San Francisco loses more than one existing affordable housing unit for every two it creates. That’s according to data from a biannual San Francisco Planning Department analysis of the city’s affordable housing stock over the last 10 years. Presented to the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee earlier this week, the report underscores the rapid disappearance of existing affordable housing, even as the city scrambles to develop new below-market-rate units.
  • Affordable housing
  • San Francisco
After their landlord allegedly blew a deadline written into a legal settlement, tenants of a Soundview building are asking a court to have an administrator tackle the maintenance issues they say have been plaguing them for more than a year, including a complete lack of cooking gas, shoddy elevator service and leaks.
  • Housing conditions/habitability
The Marin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday will consider adopting an ordinance that requires just cause for terminating a tenant's rental agreement. If approved, the ordinance will take effect Jan. 17, 2019. It would apply to all properties with three or more units in the unincorporated areas of the county. It stipulates reasons for when a tenancy can be terminated or a renter evicted.
  • Eviction
  • Marin

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