Political compromise, like beauty, lies very much in the eye of the beholder. That was made excruciatingly clear late last week, when a special task force made up of landlord and tenant representatives voted in favor of a handful of measures designed to provide greater protection to renters living in the City of Santa Barbara. Although the final vote was unanimous, there’s still deep disagreement among the factions about just how much the landlords gave up and how much the tenants stand to gain.
As Bay Area residents and others flock to Sacramento to escape the housing crisis, low-income renters in the capital find themselves on shaky ground.
In its first-ever analysis of gentrification in the city, UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project found that an astonishing 95,000 low-income households live in Sacramento neighborhoods that “are already undergoing or are at risk of becoming hotbeds of displacement.
Nearly half the renters in the Bay Area struggle to meet high housing costs, despite an influx of wealthier workers into the market, a new survey found.
A study by Apartment List, a rental website, found nearly 1 in 4 renters in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland and surrounding areas were severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on rent. About half of Bay Area renters are considered economically burdened, spending over 30 percent of their paychecks on shelter.
For Sharon Ditmore, the signs of the holidays showing up in this city devastated by fire are both comforting and depressing.
Ditmore lost her home in the working-class neighborhood of Coffey Park and has been living in a friend’s guesthouse. She can’t help but think back to the Thanksgiving gatherings she enjoyed with family members in the home she and her husband had rented for nearly 30 years.
Two years ago, tenants of the apartment building at 1038 Second St. reported large rent hikes, evictions and onerous lease conditions. With rent control on the table, the council convinced the former property owner to cap rent increases at 10 percent.
Tilden Properties, a Walnut Creek real estate investment and asset management company, bought the 117-unit building in December 2016. Residents told the council in August that the firm planned to raise rents by up to 20 percent and refused to make repairs for longtime tenants.
Bruce Nicholson and Lisa Daspit thought they had found the perfect house. They spotted it from the car -- a bright yellow bungalow with white trim, partially hidden from the street by an array of palm trees on the lawn -- while exploring a favorite neighborhood in Margate, Florida, outside Fort Lauderdale. The couple had dreams of owning their own home, and this single-family rental offered both the time to save and the space to grow.
They called the number for Waypoint Homes posted on the sign out front and moved in shortly thereafter, excited to make the house their own.
One of President Donald Trump’s closest friends and confidants took advantage of the Great Recession to build an unprecedented real estate business that makes him tantamount to a modern-day slumlord – buying up homes, bumping up rents and allowing the properties to fall into disrepair.
Southern California billionaire Thomas J. Barrack is the mastermind behind the scheme, founding a company five years ago that has taken 31,000 single-family homes off the housing market and calling it “the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch has heard plenty of complaints about sky-high rents and hotel prices in the aftermath of the region’s devastating fires.
But a report of a big dollar amount alone doesn’t necessarily constitute a violation of the state’s price-gouging law.
“As of this moment we have received over 60 reports of potential rental price gouging,” Ravitch wrote Thursday in an email.
Ben Hernandez and his family have spent the past five weeks in hotels, unable to find a place to rent after wildfires destroyed more than 5,000 homes in Sonoma County, including their three-bedroom tract house in northwest Santa Rosa.
“It’s looking more and more like we might have to stay with relatives,” said Hernandez, who works in maintenance and construction. His homeowners insurance is paying for the hotels, he said, but the company “is only going to give you so much housing money” toward a future when the family can rebuild in Coffey Park.
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.