Tenants find stability under Eviction Protections 2.0

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The rent is too damn high!

That may still be true, but at least the evictions aren’t too damn high.

The latest numbers from the San Francisco Rent Board show a steady two-year decline in filed evictions since 2015. What’s behind the decline, you may ask?

Did landlords become less greedy? Have rent prices cooled? With an average two bedroom rental price of $3,400, according to Curbed, I think we can safely say no.

What has happened, say tenant advocates, is a handy suite of protections passed in 2015 are kicking in. Eviction Protections 2.0, the wonky rewrite of San Francisco’s rent-control law, is working…

a coalition of tenants rights advocates on Tuesday took the first step toward creating a ballot initiative to provide a right to legal counsel for victims of evictions in San Francisco… (more)

Advertisements

Find out why you should just say “NO More” taxes and gentrification.

A book and a film for people who don’t know what is happening to their city.

The Financialization of Housing – A political economy approach
By Manuel B. Aalbers

Due to the financialization of housing in today’s market, housing risks are increasingly becoming financial risks. Financialization refers to the increasing dominance of financial actors, markets, practices, measurements and narratives. It also refers to the resulting structural transformation of economies, firms, states and households. This book asserts the centrality of housing to the contemporary capitalist political economy and places housing at the centre of the financialization debate.

A global wall of money is looking for High-Quality Collateral (HQC) investments, and housing is one of the few asset classes considered HQC. This explains why housing is increasingly becoming financialized, but it does not explain its timing, politics and geography. Presenting a diverse range of case studies from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain, the chapters in this book include coverage of the role of the state as the driver of financialization processes, and the part played by local and national histories and institutions. This cutting edge volume will pave the way for future research in the area.

Where housing used to be something “local” or “national”, the two-way coupling of housing to finance has been one crucial element in the recent crisis. It is time to reconsider the financialization of both homeownership and social housing. This book will be of interest to those who study international economics, economic geography and financialization… (more)

Who Killed Parkmerced? a film by Nick Pasquariello
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ1-5y7vUdw

The big lie about California’s housing crisis

By Deepa Varma : sfexaminer – excerpt

SF-skyline

New SF skyline shot from the bay by zrants

It’s official: The rent in California, not just San Francisco, is too damn high.

California now has the highest poverty rate in the nation when the cost of housing is taken into account. Since 2005, more than 2.5 million Californians have been forced to leave the state in search of an affordable home.

Unfortunately, the prevailing supply and demand — “just build” — mantra put forward by opinion leaders is diverting state government from the hard truth that the market has not responded to the demand of California families for affordable homes — not luxury and market-rate homes.

We are told a big lie, that the solution to our housing crisis is to get government out of the way and leave it to the free market to let affordable housing magically “trickle down” to lower-income households. The truth, though, is developers build to make a profit, not to provide a social need. Luxury housing doesn’t trickle down, at least not at a scale to bring down rents in a meaningful way…(more)

Other countries take a different approach to values…

In World’s Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling — Because That’s What House Prices Are Supposed To Do

Eamonn Fingleton : forbes – excerpt

When Americans travel abroad, the culture shocks tend to be unpleasant. Robert Locke’s experience was different. In buying a charming if rundown house in the picturesque German town of Goerlitz, he was surprised – very pleasantly – to find city officials second-guessing the deal. The price he had agreed was too high, they said, and in short order they forced the seller to reduce it by nearly one-third. The officials had the seller’s number because he had previously promised to renovate the property and had failed to follow through…(more)

Supes rebuke Planning Commission

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Hotel rejected; pot clubs limited; Kim wants more sunshine on dark money … the last board meeting before summer break was packed with action

The Board of Supes rejected a hotel project on Hyde Street today, sending a clear message that a residential building where tenants have been displaced by fire can’t be turned into another use.

It was also a sharp rebuke to the four Planning Commission members who were appointed by Mayor Ed Lee….

“This would be a policy statement that we don’t believe in the rights of tenants to return,” Peskin said. “This would be a statement that it’s okay to have a fire and tell people you can change the use and not allow return.”

He noted that “this is a teachable moment” for planning staff and the commission.

It’s rare for the supes to do this. I hope the Planning Commission (and the mayor) was listening… (more)

 

Robots could soon become skilled enough to do white collar jobs

http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=1982365

Robots are becoming so skilled, some experts believe nearly half of all human jobs could be at risk in the decades ahead.

“The most important thing we should understand is that this is potentially an enormous disruption,” says Bay Area futurist Martin Ford.

Ford predicted as much in his bestselling book, “Rise of the Robots.”

“The key thing that makes a job vulnerable is the nature of the work. Is it something that’s fundamentally routine and predictable,” he says.

Wiener Slams Housing Opponents

by Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

State Senator Scott Wiener has written a powerful letter accusing nonprofit housing leaders of providing “significant misinformation” about Wiener’s SB 35, which seeks to expedite housing development in California. Wiener’s April 15 letter directed to Peter Cohen and Fernando Marti of the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO) says he has “a major problem with any person or organization that disseminates misinformation and continues to do so even after being repeatedly corrected.”

In other words, Wiener is accusing CCHO’s leadership of lying about his bill. And he provides a point by point rebuttal to their arguments while noting that “several CCHO members and allied affordable housing partner organizations came out early to endorse SB 35, including Mercy Housing (CCHO member), Mission Housing (CCHO member), Bridge Housing, Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and the California Council for Affordable Housing.”

It’s rare to see an elected official writing a nine page letter to a bill’s opponents. And Wiener joined this with an equally long April 16 article for Medium, “Market-Rate Housing Isn’t a Bad Word, and We Won’t Solve the Housing Crisis Without It.”

Instead of allowing insider politics to derail SB 35, Wiener is challenging opponents to battle him on the merits of his ideas—and may the best ideas for addressing the state’s housing crisis win…

Noe Valley: No New Middle-Class Residents Allowed

Noe Valley has no signs on its borders barring new middle-class residents but it may as well. Home prices and rents are through the roof. Only the upper middle class and higher can now afford to buy a house or rent a vacant apartment… (more)

How are you supposed to build more housing in a completely developed neighborhood like Noe Valley without destroying what is there? How is the destruction worth the lower level of lifestyle and diminished quality of life we see in the city in the newly rebuilt neighborhoods? Why should anyone want to change what they feel is perfect just to make room for millionaires to store their money in new dense, units? When the major driving force is money, it is hard to believe there will be a happy ending for the residents who are being threatened by the greed, especially the tenants.

Artists fight eviction from warehouse at SF Rent Board

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A group of artists who are facing eviction from a warehouse in Bernal Heights have turned to the San Francisco Rent Board for help in a legal battle against their landlord.

The artists were served with an eviction notice from the warehouse on Peralta Avenue after a fire killed three dozen people in December at an artist collective in Oakland called the Ghost Ship. They have since refused to leave their space and filed a petition with the Rent Board in January, asking for greater protections from eviction under the rent control ordinance of 1979.

The decision could bolster the tenants’ argument in San Francisco Superior Court, where they are fighting an unlawful detainer case for staying at the warehouse…

The Rent Board heard their argument for more than six hours Thursday, according to Executive Director Robert Collins. He said the board has to decide whether the landlord rented the space for commercial or residential use.

“The basic issue is that they have asked the Rent Board to determine whether the rent ordinance has jurisdiction over their tenancy,” Collins said. “Was it rented by the landlord for these folks to live in, or was it a commercial tenancy?”…

Testimony accepted Thursday at the Rent Board included a March 6 letter from Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who argued in support of the tenants.

“It has long been the practice of landlords to accept rent checks while meticulously blinding themselves to the residential use of their buildings,” Ronen wrote. “The tenants keep quiet or risk exposing themselves and losing their homes while city officials are lax in enforcement of codes. These practices led to the tragic deaths of 36 people in Oakland.”

The Rent Board is expected to make a decision within six to eight weeks, according to Collins...(more)

This is a good test case to see how the courts view the living situation in a live-work environment. Is this a commercial use or residential and do they cancel each other out? In this tight real estate market we need to re-visit the concept of live-work. One space for both uses mean less commuting, less traffic and a better quality of life for the people who are paying a single rent. This is the opposite of gentrification and could even be a good way to curb the upward spiral of rents as it cuts demand for more space.