With housing costs skyrocketing, rent control is on the docket again in Sacramento

By Andrew Khouri : 48hills – excerpt

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Amid California’s housing crisis, several state lawmakers want to give cities the ability to dramatically expand rent control, including imposing the kind of strict limits that once existed in Santa Monica and West Hollywood but have been barred since the 1990s.

A bill that would do so, introduced last month, marks the most significant move yet in a growing movement to cap skyrocketing rents as California’s economy booms and housing production lags.

Protests over the high cost of housing and aggressive landlord tactics have erupted in Los Angeles and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. And voters in two cities up north passed new limits on rent increases in November, seeing them as a way to stop dramatic hikes that have displaced lower- and middle-income households.

But cities can only go so far in capping rents — something AB 1506 seeks to change.

“The momentum is very much on the side of rent control,” said Dean Preston, executive director of the statewide renters group Tenants Together(more)

The key here is that the repeal throws responsibility back to the local jurisdictions. That is why the slogan is: “Let the Cities Decide”, or let the citizens elect officials that represent their interests and allow them to decide. If you feel the local jurisdictions should decide how to manage rental housing instead of the state, you will want to support AB 1506. Contact your local state reps to let them know how you feel.  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/state-legislators/

 

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Emergency Ban on Excessive Rent Increases Takes Effect in Nine California Counties, after Wildfires

Wednesday, October 18, 2017: California’s statewide tenants’ rights organization warned on Wednesday that double-digit rent increases following recent wildfires violate Penal Code 396, the state’s anti-price gouging laws. The cap on rent increases was triggered by the Governor’s declarations of states of emergency in nine counties due to wildfires. Tenants Together is holding a webinar at 10am-11am on October 26, 2017, for media, policymakers, lawyers, and organizers on the issue. To sign up for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/RentBan

In the Bay Area, where affordable housing is already scarce, the fires have caused a surge in homelessness, as well as a sharp rise in demand for rental units. The price gouging law protects against landlords capitalizing on the heightened vulnerability of tenants…(more)

Find out more about these executive orders to stop price gouging in the fire areas by signing up for the webinar.

Real Estate Execs Disrupt Nonprofit Housing

By Toshio Meronek : sfweekly – excerpt

There’s a stealthy way developers get approval to build, build, build.

Hiding behind the scenes of many nonprofit housing organizations are corporate real estate professionals…

Over the past few years, the real estate industry has been cozying up to organizations that exist to help the poorest San Franciscans. It’s not well-known, but many of the nonprofits responsible for housing thousands of low-income San Franciscans and managing millions of dollars in public funding are run by people involved in real estate development, raising the question of whether, for example, an executive from Wells Fargo should be making decisions that affect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

This conflict of interest can be stressful for tenants…

“We have no say,” says Phyllis Bowie, who lives at Midtown Apartments, a 139-unit complex in the Fillmore that’s managed by the city’s largest housing nonprofit, Mercy Housing

But renters do have allies. Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee ensures that residents get heard over the blare of executives, who he believes have an agenda that puts profits first on the priority list, with tenants toward the bottom…

San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and the YIMBY Party attempted to win enough member votes to take over the board of the local Sierra Club chapter, but failed in their efforts…

MHDC, BRIDGE, and the board of Mercy Housing — which puts out the majority of the city’s affordable housing — signed on to support local state Senator and ex-Sup. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 35, which in practice could fast-track majority market-rate residential projects…

No big surprise: Sierra Club, Causa Justa, and the Housing Action Committee all opposed SB 35…

The 16th Street BART station could be home to what opponents have dubbed the “Monster in the Mission,” a new 10-story complex that would change the entire landscape of the neighborhood. (Only 42 of its 330 units are considered affordable.)…(more)

Good article with a lot of information. Unfortunately, most of the news is bad. If you care, you can still work on campaigns to replace the pro developer supervisors and state reps. The DCCC delegate election proved that people can make a difference if they get out and vote. The word that everyone is avoiding using is the word that most non-partisan groups agree is the problem with the Plan Bay Area and that word is gentrification. Look for someone with a plan to deal with rising property rates. Otherwise they do not have a feasible plan.

 

Gov. Brown Signs Acosta Sierra Highway, Search Warrant Bills

SACRAMENTO – Among the bills Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Thursday were two authored by Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita).

AB 1172 paves the way for Santa Clarita to assume control of the section of State Highway 14U aka Sierra Highway that passes through city limits, and AB 539 expands the use of search warrants in gathering evidence of a crime.

Gov. Brown also signed the following bills passed during the recent legislative session:

• AB 184 by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) – Sea level rise planning: database.
• AB 333 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) – State Highway Route 185: relinquishment: County of Alameda.
• AB 415 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – CalFresh: employment social enterprises.
• AB 466 by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) – Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Working Group.
• AB 563 by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) – CalFresh Employment and Training program.
• AB 579 by Assemblymember Heath Flora (R-Ripon) – Apprenticeship: fire protection: firefighter pre-apprenticeship program.
• AB 658 by Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) – Clinical laboratories.
• AB 659 by Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) – Medi-Cal: reimbursement rates.
• AB 720 by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) – Inmates: psychiatric medication: informed consent.
• AB 790 by Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) – Identification cards: replacement: reduced fee.
• AB 794 by Assemblymember James M. Gallagher (R-Yuba City) – County officers: recorder: record correction.
• AB 908 by Assemblymember Matthew M. Dababneh (D-Encino) – Hospitals: seismic safety.
• AB 1625 by Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) – Inoperable parking meters.
• AB 1725 by the Committee on Local Government – Local agency formation.
• AB 1729 by the Committee on Elections and Redistricting – Examination of petitions.
• SB 112 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review – State government.
• SB 282 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – CalFresh and CalWORKs.
• SB 313 by Senator Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) – Advertising: automatic renewal and continuous service offers.
• SB 372 by Senator Anthony J. Cannella (R-Ceres) – San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Groundwater Sustainability Agency.
• SB 403 by Senator Anthony J. Cannella (R-Ceres) – Sale of county courthouses.
• SB 492 by Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose) – Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District: purchase of property: San Jose Water Company.
• SB 534 by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) – California Victim Compensation Board: claims.
• SB 569 by Senator William W. Monning (D-Carmel) – Insurance: disasters: identification of insurer.
• SB 598 by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) – Public utilities: gas and electric service disconnections.

The Governor also announced that he has vetoed the following bills:

• AB 532 by Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) – Drug courts: drug and alcohol assistance. A veto message can be found here.
• SB 596 by Senator Henry Stern (D-Agoura Hills) – Civics education: Student Empowerment Commission. A veto message can be found here.

For full text of the bills, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Landowner-tenant laws may be contributing to homelessness

ktvu – excerpt (includes video)

Affordable Housing Project by Plan Bay Area photo by zrants

– While laws are supposed to protect, attorney James Cook told KTVU local landowner-tenant laws may be worsening the Bay Area’s housing crisis forcing more people into homelessness.

“Both landlords and tenants would say the current housing laws have contributed to at least the rental crisis,” he said. “If you talk to owners, they say it keeps small-time owners from renting to people because they want to rent out units for market rates because housing prices are so high. If you talk to tenants, they say the just law eviction laws do not protect them from unlawful evictions and they aren’t right.”

Cook said the Bay Area’s housing problem has grown at a speed for which many people and laws couldn’t have prepared. According to Cook, the Costa Hawkins Act originally made the law which determines control for rent control and when you can evict someone under rent control and what type of housing qualifies under rent control. Just Cause eviction laws determine the circumstances under which someone can evict a tenant… (more)

Some words of wisdom coming out of this conversation about homelessness. We need to balance the powers between the landlords and tenants with an eye toward fairness for all. The current laws pitch landlords against tenants and we agree they are largely in need of an overhaul.

Funding for Affordable Housing Headed for Vote in State Legislature

Host: Michael Krasny : kqed – excerpt (includes audio)
Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk
Laura Foote Clark, executive director, Yimby Action
Tim Redmond, editor, 48 Hills.org
Fernando Marti, co-director, Council of Community Housing Organizations…

The California State legislature is set to vote on a package of affordable housing bills as early as this Friday. Among the bills is SB 35, which would streamline the approval process for development projects in cities that are not meeting regional affordable housing goals. Supporters of SB 35 say the measure is needed to tackle the state’s critical housing shortage. But opponents say the bill wrests control of housing policy from local governments and could actually make housing more expensive in low-income Bay Area neighborhoods. We take up the debate… Listen to the show here

RELATED:

Comments by Tim Redmond:

…SB 35, the Wiener bill that would promote more market-rate housing development in the mistaken belief that more luxury condos will bring housing prices down, will come to the Assembly floor any day now. Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and I were on KQED Forum Friday debating this bill with Laura Foote Clark, executive director of Yimby Action; you can listen to the show here

What I told Clark was that the whole premise of SB 35 is false. No housing gets built without financing, and most financing comes from investors who want the maximum rate of return. The private market right now will never build housing for the middle class. If you built so much that prices started to soften, that money would go elsewhere.

Much of the affordable housing that cities get comes from forcing developers into building more below-market units than they want. Take away that tool and you will get less affordable housing. Not surprisingly, the landlords and developers are among the biggest backers of this bill, and tenant and anti-eviction groups are against it(more)

How One Sunset Couple’s $4,800 Rent Increase Could Shatter Eviction Protections for Thousands of Bay Area Tenants

By Lamar Anderson : modernluxury – excerpt

A case headed to court this fall could have major ramifications for renters.

Outer Sunset tenants Danielle Phillips and Paul Kelly lived in a two-bedroom house (center)—until their landlord more than tripled their rent.

In San Francisco there are two classes of renters: those with rent control and those without. But even renters who live in units without rent control—namely, single-family homes and condos—enjoy some protections from eviction under the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. At least, that’s what Outer Sunset residents Danielle Phillips and Paul Kelly thought, until they came home one day and found a rent increase so high that it seemed to be an eviction in disguise. It was February 2016, and the couple had been paying $1,900 to live in a two-bedroom house not far from the beach. Their new landlord, attorney Matthew Dirkes, raised the rent to a whopping $6,700, more than triple their previous rent and far above the $4,600 median asking rent for single-family homes in San Francisco at the time, according to Zillow…

Phillips and Kelly sued, arguing that the drastic rent increase was an attempt to get around San Francisco’s eviction laws. In May the Superior Court of San Francisco sided with the landlord and blocked the tenants’ suit. When the case goes before California’s First District Court of Appeal this fall, a judge will rule for the first time on how strong the eviction protections for single-family homes and condos really are..

S.F. has an unknown number of single-family homes that actually are under rent control because they have an illegal in-law unit on the property. These tenants are safe from big rent increases like the one Phillips and Kelly got…(more)