News and Views
March 21, 2018
One day after Orange County supervisors voted to spend more than $70 million to house the homeless, residents in three prosperous cities expressed alarm about a proposal to set up "camp" shelters in their communities. Besides creating permanent housing, the officials' plans call for possible camps in Irvine, Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach on county-owned land. The Irvine City Council voted unanimously late Tuesday to sue the county to stop the proposal.
March 21, 2018
"I was surprised by the lack of empathy,” Carrie Merino said. “I would say, ‘I’m a single mom with three kids and I have a job so I can pay the rent. I just don’t have three times the amount of income you require to qualify.’ ”
March 21, 2018
The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a Republican bill to protect landlords. The Senate passed the measure 18-14 Tuesday. It allows local governments to inspect rental properties only in blighted areas with numerous complaints, decreasing values or increases in single-family home conversions to rental units. If an inspection doesn't reveal a violation or the violation is fixed within a month inspectors couldn't return to the property for five years. Inspection fees would be waived in either case.
The Seattle City Council voted Monday to impose a one-year moratorium on rent-bidding platforms, which allow landlords to take competing bids from prospective tenants and then sign leases with the highest bidders — a little bit like eBay, but for apartments. The council began looking at the platforms after the board of directors of the Associated Students of the University of Washington approved a student-senate resolution calling on the city to ban them.
March 20, 2018
Over the last 15 years, criminal activity nuisance ordinances (CANOs) have proliferated throughout the country. CANOs are local laws that penalize property owners if there are repeated incidents of criminal activity on or near their property over a set period of time.
March 15, 2018
A real estate analytics firm has some good news for Bay Area landlords — and bad news for tenants: Rents began rising again last year after a brief “cooling off period” in late 2016. “The Bay Area region should register one of its best rent performances since at least mid-2016,” the Texas real estate analytics firm RealPage wrote in a new report for the real estate industry.
The battle over rent control in the state and in Sacramento is heating up. A local housing coalition is pushing for rent control and just cause in the city, while five industry groups have announced opposition to the measure. There's also a campaign across the state to repeal a decades-old law that limits where local governments can enact rent control. Volunteers are already collecting signatures to get a rent control related initiative on the California ballot in November.
March 13, 2018
California’s newest housing law is about to be tested. Last week, developer West Berkeley Investments (a subsidiary of Blake Griggs) cited SB 35 when filing its application for a controversial project that’s been tied up in zoning and environmental review for the last half-decade. The law allows the developer to bypass local oversight in exchange for making 50 percent of the units affordable, Berkeleyside reports. It’s the first to cite the law since it was enacted in January, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
For many low-income Americans, a safe and affordable home is becoming increasingly hard to find. According to The Gap, a new report from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released earlier today, at a time when more and more Americans are burdened with above-average housing costs, the Trump administration seeks to cut federal programs that provide housing assistance and support and strengthen public housing infrastructure.
March 13, 2018
Residents in an apartment complex in Concord claim they are being pushed out by poor living conditions and high rent increases. On Monday, KRON4 spoke with the affected families who took their concerns to City Hall. They are families who say they're living in poor conditions, facing no-cause evictions and unfair rent increases. Stopping by City Hall in Concord, they dropped off papers to have city inspectors tour their apartments and force their landlord to make repairs to problems that the tenants say have long been ignored.
Residents at an East Bay apartment complex complain they are living in filthy conditions infested with roaches, bed bugs and mold. The tenants living at the Parkhaven Apartments on Clayton Road in Concord are demanding that city officials take action. A group of tenants went to Concord City Hall to make themselves heard on Tuesday, but it turned out the city is already working on the problem. It’s not just one cockroach or bed bug. They are all over.
Last year, a New Jersey Superior Court judge told the state’s cities in no uncertain terms that they’d failed in to build enough affordable housing. Now, a county judge has begun handing out some long-anticipated numbers — and two wealthy towns will be forced to build more units than they’d like.
The Vallejo City Council on Tuesday will get its first look at proposed amendments to the city’s mobile home rent control ordinance. Last October, the council reinstated rent and vacancy control in the city’s mobile home parks after the original ordinance was mistakenly repealed in June 2016. Changes before the council on Tuesday include creation of a five person ad-hoc committee to hear complaints related to the ordinance, and limiting rent increases for new tenants at fair market rents.
March 12, 2018
Every year in Milwaukee, thousands of eviction notices are filed. The state Senate is expected to take up legislation later this month that critics say unfairly favors landlords -- and would increase the number of evictions. Republican proponents maintain it’s about ensuring quality housing for tenants in the most affordable way to landlords.
Delaine Eastin is the only major candidate for California governor to unequivocally support a potential November ballot measure that would allow stronger local rent control laws across the state. Eastin, a Democrat and former state schools chief, said she supports the outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents rent control ordinances from applying to housing built after 1995, as well as single-family homes, duplexes and condos.
The home at the center of a controversial eviction battle has been denied condo conversion plans by the San Francisco Planning Commission. The eviction and subsequent death of 100-year-old Iris Canada last year became the poster for displacement in San Francisco at the hand of real estate whims. Though the building owners of Canada’s decades-long home at 670 Page St. pressed on with condo conversion plans, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday to deny the application after public testimony.
March 8, 2018
(This piece first appeared in Capital and Main) New research reveals that 11 percent of 5,000 Disneyland workers surveyed—custodians, food workers, musicians, cashiers, concierges—have been homeless at least once in the past year.
March 8, 2018
The average rent for tenants living in rent-stabilized buildings in New York City grew by 3.1 percent in 2016, the lowest increase in six years, according to a new study released by the board that regulates rents in the city. The smaller uptick suggests that the historic freezes imposed on some rents in 2015 and 2016 had a noticeable impact on tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments — though there were still modest increases for some apartments.
March 8, 2018
Martha Simmons was born at San Francisco General Hospital, and raised in the Bayview. For nine-and-a-half years, she rented a single-family home in the neighborhood where she grew up, paying the not-cheap price of $3,300 a month for a two-bedroom house. But she could make ends meet, and a decade ago, was even in talks with the owner about a rent-to-buy situation.
Residents of the Green Lantern Village in Westminster are fighting back against plans by the property owner to close the 130-space mobile home park, which they say would displace more than one hundred families in a county where affordable housing is increasingly scarce. Park residents—most of whom are seniors and low-income—have been up in arms since Walsh Properties LLC, owner of Green Lantern Village, requested a land use permit from the city last year to convert the property from a mobile home park to other types of housing.