Rent increases

Oakland Landlord Faces Charges in Court, Protests from Angry Tenants

The largest private landlord in Oakland began his trial on Monday, both inside and out of federal court on Clay Street.

As Michael Marr walked into court on the day jury selection commenced in the government’s case accusing him of rigging foreclosure auctions, he was greeted by his angry East Oakland tenants, who say the trial only tells part of his misdeeds.

Marr, who owns more than 300 properties, mostly in Oakland’s flatlands, is one of four men accused of working together to suppress the prices of bids on foreclosed homes at courthouse auctions.

County to Explore Renter Protections Amid Affordable Housing Crisis

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to explore policies aimed at expanding affordable housing options and protecting renters, calling it part and parcel of the fight against homelessness.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the study.

"Countless residents in the unincorporated areas of my district have experienced skyrocketing rental rates in their neighborhoods," she said. "We need more tools to secure housing stability for the most vulnerable county residents."

Concord Adopts Rent Mediation Program

A year after a group of Latino residents seeking relief from soaring housing costs in the Monument Boulevard neighborhood spurred a debate over rent control, city leaders have established a process for tenants to appeal large rent increases.

Under the rent review program, tenants of all buildings with three or more units who receive a rent increase of more than 10 percent in a 12-month period may seek mediation. If the landlord and tenant fail to reach agreement, either party may request a public hearing before a panel that will deliver a nonbinding decision.

Tiny Apartments Could Help Ease Sacramento's Affordable Housing Crisis

With local rent prices through the roof, one local builder says he has a solution to Sacramento’s affordable housing crisis: offer tiny, inexpensive, apartments to Downtown’s working people.

Apartments would go for $600 a month, but this downtown building isn’t catering to low-income earners.

Tim Bourke is a local barista, making minimum wage plus tips—pretty much, working to pay rent, he says.

“The increasing rent is getting tougher and tougher to live in downtown,” he says.

Low Pay, High S.F. Housing Costs Equal 1 Homeless Math Teacher

Etoria Cheeks teaches math at a public high school in San Francisco, explaining algebra and statistics to teenagers. But it’s the math behind her housing predicament that simply doesn’t add up.

In a shocking indication of just how bad San Francisco’s teacher housing situation is, Cheeks is homeless. She’s a professional with a teaching credential and master’s degree in one of the richest cities in the world who cannot find housing.

Apartment Auctions Hit L.A.'s Tight Rental Market

Auctioning off an apartment to the highest bidder may sound like a nightmare to those struggling to find a home in Los Angeles' tight rental market.

But landlords and property managers can do exactly that with the help of digital tools from tech startups. Companies like Rentberry, Biddwell and the L.A.-based Property Connect have created websites and mobile apps that allow prospective tenants to place bids on apartments.

L.A. Landlords Exploiting Immigration Fears to Threaten Tenants

In immigrant-heavy neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, community groups have seen a marked uptick in landlords exploiting immigration fears to threaten tenants since the election. Unscrupulous landlords who threaten to call immigration authorities on undocumented tenants are not a new phenomenon, but, as first reported at CityLab, there appears to be a growing trend across California of landlords capitalizing on immigration fears to illegally raise rents or evict tenants.

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