News and Views
April 2, 2018
Rent control campaigns are surging powerfully throughout the United States as rents rise and housing crises become more extreme. At the same time, mainstream economists and pro-landlord groups are recirculating anti-rent control rhetoric and misleading studies to discredit rent control and the real struggles that tenants face every day.
Just over a month ago, affordable housing advocates applauded Portland City Council for passing a new, "emergency" policy that would require landlords pay tenants between $2,900 and $4,500 in moving expenses under certain circumstances. The policy, which applies to any tenant who receives a no-cause eviction or faces a rent hike of 10 percent or more, is meant to act as a buffer to keep tenants from slipping into homelessness after a rental shakeup. But a recent apartment sale has tenants telling the city it's not enough.
April 2, 2018
Bay Area renters, don’t look now, but more hikes might be on the horizon. Year over year rents rose 3 percent in March in San Jose, 6 percent in Oakland and 1 percent in San Francisco, according to a survey by Apartment List released Monday. Nationally, rents rose about 2.3 percent during the last 12 months. Real estate economists and professionals are expecting a continued run-up during this year’s peak summer moving season. “We’re just not doing anything to keep up with it on the supply side,” said Chris Salviati, housing economist with Apartment List.
March 30, 2018
The San Francisco Bay Area did a remarkable job of rebounding from the 2008 recession: The region has since added 640,000 new jobs, and its unemployment rate hovers around 3 percent. But as you’ve probably heard, the area’s housing supply hasn’t kept up with its population growth, and neither has its public transportation. A 2017 report found that 75 percent of Bay Area commuters drive to work, and only 28 percent of new office developments are accessible by regional transit.
Nearly one dozen tenants in South Los Angeles are still facing sudden homelessness after participating in a mediation with the City of Los Angeles and the landlord trying to evict them.
March 30, 2018
By nearly every metric, Miami-Dade County is one of the most difficult places to live if you don't make a ton of money. The county's median income is a staggeringly low $44,000, compared to the $80,000 median income in a comparably expensive city such as Seattle. That means Miamians wind up spending a higher percentage of their incomes on rent than residents of any other city in America.
March 30, 2018
A judge’s ruling against Seattle’s first-come, first-served law for renters means a harder time finding housing for people who tend to be discriminated against, say supporters of the law who are reeling from the decision. “We’re very disappointed in the ruling and hope there’s an appeal,” said Merf Ehman, executive director of Columbia Legal Services, which pushed for the City Council to adopt the law in 2016.
March 29, 2018
In rankings of the US’s best urban public transportation systems, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Boston, and New York usually hover at the top. At the bottom are smaller and poorer cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Omaha, and Oklahoma City. The overall takeaway is no surprise: well-resourced cities have better public transit systems than their more economically distressed counterparts.
Airbnb and other platforms for short-term rental listings are exacerbating the housing crisis in New Orleans, says a new report from the Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative (JPNSI). The analysis in the report falls in line with similar findings in other cities — a substantial chunk of short-term rentals are controlled by operators with multiple properties, suggesting that landlords are choosing to put units on Airbnb and other sites, eschewing long-term tenants.
March 28, 2018
In an effort to ease burdens on renters amidst the ongoing housing crisis, the Redwood City Council unanimously passed two renter protection ordinances requiring landlords to offer minimum lease terms, and in certain circumstances, help pay for the relocation of displaced low-income tenants. Emotions ran high at the contentious Monday meeting at which nearly 40 speakers weighed in on the ordinances. Supporters celebrated them as small steps toward stability in an unstable housing market, while detractors saw the measures as forms of property control.
March 28, 2018
The city is suing a landlord who authorities say tried to bypass Oakland’s rent control ordinances and nearly triple his tenants’ rent by pretending to move into the duplex. The city attorney’s office, alongside tenant rights legal firm Centro Legal de la Raza, filed a lawsuit March 20 against landlord Rong Fu Lee alleging that he claimed to be living in the downstairs unit of the duplex in 2016 and attempted to drastically increase the rent for Salvador Sotelo — who had lived at the West Oakland duplex with his family since 2003.
March 28, 2018
California is bracing for a high-profile fight over the state's housing crisis. It's a clash that pits Silicon Valley technology executives, who want to cut regulations that make it hard to build multi-story apartment buildings, against existing home owners and affordable housing advocates.
District Attorney Files Felony Charges for Election Fraud Against Signature Gatherers Paid by the California Apartment Association
March 27, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Shanti Singh, email@example.com District Attorney Files Felony Charges for Election Fraud Against Signature Gatherers Paid by the California Apartment Association
March 27, 2018
Mountain View's Rental Housing Committee could soon be headed back to the courtroom over a decision to exclude tenants at mobile home parks from the city's rent control protections. Earlier this month, an attorney representing two mobile home residents at Santiago Villa issued a demand letter urging the committee to reverse its decision not to extend rent control to Mountain View's 1,100 mobile homes. If the committee refused, the residents would file a lawsuit to get the action rescinded, said attorney Armen Nercessian of the firm Fenwick & West.
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to oppose a bill allowing residential buildings of four to eight stories on streets near public transit, despite objections from business leaders and groups that favor higher-density housing. The 13-0 vote makes L.A. the largest municipality in California to come out against Senate Bill 827, which would loosen or eliminate restrictions on height, density, parking and design for residential projects near bus and rail stops.
Unaffordable rents and a lack of legal protections for tenants are creating a national "eviction epidemic," according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. The NLCHP is a legal organization that advocates for legislation and programs to support people experiencing homelessness. The group recently released a report reviewing research on evictions. They link evictions to growing numbers of people sleeping in shelters and outside and call for more legal protections for renters.
March 26, 2018
The nationwide shortage of housing inventory is a daily topic in the industry in 2018, with accelerating home prices combining with inventory shortfalls to make it very difficult for many potential homebuyers to find an actual home to purchase. The problem also extends to the rental side of things, with rent prices also increasing and renting becoming an increasingly popular option for many would-be homebuyers who decide renting is a better or more economically feasible option than saving up for a downpayment on a home.
A typical two-bedroom apartment at market rates in Santa Monica required a yearly income of $111,000 last year, according to an annual update on the state of the City’s troubled rent control system. It also shows dramatic rent differences in apartments that haven’t been vacated under the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and are still pegged to the 1979 caps on rent.
For decades, the question of where Los Angeles should build housing has been a local matter. Real estate developers have mostly relied on an elaborate web of city zoning rules to figure out how tall a new residential building can be, how many parking spaces it must have, and how many homes can be built on a particular piece of property.
March 25, 2018
When did the endless debate over the unfairness of California’s housing market become such an exercise in missing the point? Developers huff and puff about rent control and how, if it’s enacted, the construction of apartment buildings will grind to a screeching halt, exacerbating the housing crisis. Renters rant about how they don’t care because they need help – now. And political candidates, well, they try to have it both ways.