Voters in Portland, Maine, rejected a ballot measure last week that would have established a rent stabilization program in the small coastal city, capping off months of debate over how to address rising housing costs.
Instead of amending the city’s rent control law, Councilman Tam Nguyen said housing officials should focus on creating more affordable housing — and stop “pounding” on the landlords. But Councilman Raul Peralez argued that new housing developments take years to approve and build — and Nguyen last year voted against an affordable housing project in his district on Senter Road.
“When you’re talking about a city that has 4,000 homeless people — waiting 10 or 15 years to get those homes can’t be the only solution,” Peralez said.
In 1981, Minneapolis was facing an affordable housing crisis. Rents had risen 61 percent in the five years since the repeal of Nixon-era rent controls; they were expected to increase another 10 percent the following year. A number of condominium conversions had decreased available units, and the city’s vacancy rate had fallen from 4 to 3.4 percent. With rent increasing as much as 7.6 percent in just a few months, tenants found that they could not survive.
Amid soaring housing costs and a tight rental market, tenant advocates are urging the San Jose City Council on Tuesday to limit increases for rent-controlled apartments to inflation levels.
Currently, landlords can raise rents in the 44,359 apartments subject to the city’s rent-control ordinance by no more than 5 percent a year. Tuesday’s proposal would limit increases to the area’s consumer price index, a variable rate determined by the federal government and considered an inflation gauge.
Palo Alto’s city council voted against further discussion of new measures that would address the housing affordability crisis in the city even as soaring rents have displaced community members like teachers, first responders and service industry workers.
While cities around the peninsula have passed rent control or approved new affordable housing projects to address the problem, the Palo Alto City Council voted 6-3 on Oct. 16 against studying stabilization measures after hearing passionate testimony from 60 members of the public.
The third-largest city in the United States, Chicago, is home to more than 2.7 million people, 22 percent of whom were living in poverty as of 2016. In some communities on the South Side and West Side of the city, the poverty problem affects between 40 to 60 percent of residents. Among the many issues facing these 1.3 million Chicagoans with incomes at or below the poverty line, finding and keeping an affordable place to live is one of the most pressing—and increasingly difficult as the city transforms.
Housing advocates are seeking to take the issue of rent control directly to voters after they say repeated calls on local leaders to enact basic renter protections in Long Beach have gone unanswered.
Housing Long Beach Executive Director Josh Butler, along with other community activists, walked into City Hall Wednesday morning to start the process to qualify a ballot measure for the November 2018 election.
“Sixty percent of Long Beach residents currently rent their homes, and they deserve stability,” Butler said in a statement.
For the next six months, Oakland landlords won’t be able to raise rents on properties under rent control after making repairs to them.
Oakland and San Francisco are the only two cities in the state that have “substantial rehabilitation exemptions” to rent stabilization ordinances, according to a report supporting the moratorium proposed by City Council members Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan. Council members voted Tuesday to impose the moratorium on granting the exemptions.
Last Tuesday we mobilized to attend the first-ever State Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee informational hearing on “The Housing Affordability Crisis: Exploring the Effects of Renter Displacement” and asked you to contact your local state representatives to demand the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
With renters becoming 60 percent of city residents and median rent on Craigslist pushing $3,000 per month, students at UC Santa Cruz are talking with community members about a rent control campaign in 2018.
A representative of the Santa Cruz Tenant Organizing Committee announced the campaign at the end of “No Place Like Home,” showcasing a survey of 1,737 renters around the county by UCSC faculty and undergraduate researchers attended by 600 people at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Thursday night.