In The News

California Assembly passes rent-cap bill: Move is a huge victory for tenant advocates

Katy Murphy, East Bay Times

SACRAMENTO — In a dramatic victory for tenant advocates, the California Assembly narrowly passed a statewide rent-cap proposal on Wednesday night amid mounting pressure for lawmakers to protect renters from the steepest of increases in a hot rental market.

If the bill clears the Senate, California could become the second state in the nation this year to limit annual rent hikes, covering millions of properties not covered by local rent control rules.

Everyone Agrees California Has a Housing Crisis. Trying to Fix It Has Become a Battle.

Bryan Schatz, Mother Jones

Francisco Dueñas, the housing campaign director at the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, said, “We think that in general, similar to what happened in Chicago, [SB 50] is just going to increase the value of that land, fueling greater speculation, and then that gets translated into increased rent and more people getting pushed out.”


Sophia Kasakov, Pacific Standard

A report by the non-profit Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment found that corporate landlords, on average, demand rent increases of almost double the national average. The Atlantic reported last month that one large company, American Homes 4 Rent, increased the money it collected from tenants for repairs after they moved out by more than 1,000 percent between 2014 and 2018.

California Renters need relief. That mean weakening Costa Hawkins

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

Now, a group of Democratic lawmakers has proposed a package of bills aimed at protecting renters, including proposals to cap annual rent increases and to make it harder to evict tenants without just cause. The bills will inevitably be controversial — any discussion of rent control is — but legislators shouldn’t shy away from adopting reasonable policies designed to provide stability and security for renters, who make up nearly half the state’s population.

After ballot failure, there’s a new bid to control what California landlords can charge tenants

Liam Dillon, LA Times

In the wake of a failed ballot measure to expand rent control, California Democratic lawmakers are introducing a host of new measures that aim to increase protections for tenants. The bills, unveiled Thursday, include efforts to prevent landlords statewide from raising rents above a to-be-determined level, and to let cities and counties restrict rents on more apartments than currently allowed.

After rent-control’s defeat, California lawmakers propose tenant protections

Katy Murphy, Mercury News

Four months after California voters rejected an effort to expand rent control, lawmakers are back with a proposal to loosen decades-old restrictions, allowing local governments to place more properties under rent control.

California lawmakers try again to tamp down rising rents

Kathleen Ronayne, Capitol Public Radio

California lawmakers are trying again to tamp down rising housing costs by expanding rent control and stopping rental price gouging, warning a failure to act this year could result in another costly ballot measure in 2020.

Rent control back on California's agenda with package of Democratic bills

Alexi Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle

The push to expand rent control in California returned to life in the Legislature on Thursday, just months after state voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have removed barriers to new tenant protection laws.


Phillip Iglauer, L.A. TACO

Silvia Venegas grew up in Van Nuys. She raised her children there. She calls herself a “typical Latina Valley girl.” And now’s she in a fight the likes of which Los Angeles hasn’t seen since the dark days of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. It’s a five-year-long battle involving three multi-billion-dollar corporations, alleged illegal lender maneuvering, and one family stuck in the middle during the city’s latest housing crisis. The lawyers and supporters who know her story swear Venegas is a fighter. She’s up against power players in a giant real estate machine, and beat them to a standstill – at least for now.

The 'Hearbreaking' Decrease in Black Homeownership: Racism and Roll Backs in Government Policies are Taking their Tolls

Troy McMullen, Washington Post

Vanessa Bulnes and her husband, Richard, bought their house on 104th Avenue in East Oakland, Calif., in 1992. The modest two-bedroom property is where they lived for 20 years, raising three children, and where Vanessa made a living running an in-home day-care center. Neighbors in the mostly African American community often saw her planting vegetables in the backyard, with her kids in tow.

Why Unions Must Bargain for Affordable Housing - And How

ACCE Executive Director Christina Livingston and Stephen Lerner

For many millions of Americans, winning decent, safe, and affordable housing is an urgent necessity. Housing costs are putting the squeeze on working families in urban and suburban settings alike, especially in communities of color that have long been targeted by predatory housing schemes. Since the financial crisis, housing affordability has grown even worse for workers, as gentrification, rising rents, and the corporatization of rental properties—both multifamily and single-family homes—displace communities of color and increase homelessness.

The Resurrection of American Labor

Janet Paskin, Bloomberg Businessweek

“We’re not constrained by some of the legal constraints that unions are bound by, nor by the politics or protocols,” says Amy Schur, the ACCE campaign director. “We’re on the outside—we don’t have a contractual relationship or even a formal one with the school board, and that broadens out the range of tactics.” So, for example, after the teachers walked out, ACCE members not only joined them in demonstrations but then showed up at the school board president’s house in the pouring rain to stage a loud protest. “I don’t know that the union was ready to escalate like that,” Schur says. “But we were.”

Protesters shut down meeting of Los Angeles school board amid strike threat

Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

Protesters turned up at a meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Education and shut down debate at a time when a teacher strike in the nation’s second-largest public school system seems increasingly likely. More than 50 adults and students went to the meeting late Monday and shouted at board members in support of teachers and their union, which has been negotiating for more than 1½ years with the Los Angeles Unified School District and its new superintendent, Austin Beutner, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Election Day Brought Thrilling Victory—and Devastating Defeat—to the Housing Movement

Jimmy Tobias, The Nation

As all eyes were turned toward the big-ticket races in the House and Senate on Tuesday night—as Georgia, Florida, and Texas tiptoed toward history and then hit retreat—activists in cities around the country had their sights set on their own hard-fought prize: a suite of housing initiatives that had the ability to bring relief to millions of renters. Indeed, the mid-term elections were a critical test for this country’s growing tenants’-rights movement, which has emerged as a vibrant political force in recent years as renters and their allies work to combat exorbitant housing costs, rampant gentrification and widespread homelessness.

Why Rent Control is a Lightning Rod

Conor Doughtery, New York Times

A supply of housing sufficient to meet urban needs in California will not be built for decades, if ever, and right now building doesn’t seem to be helping much. Many of the newer rental buildings carry high-end prices, while stock of affordable housing is actually falling. Given that, rent control is an easy and off-the-shelf policy tool that many people are familiar with — one that does help some renters and doesn’t appear to cost taxpayers money. “It is the best anti-displacement tool around,” said Stephen Barton, co-author of a recent report that called rent control a key measure toward stabilizing California’s housing market.

The Deceptive, Shameful, Lucratively Funded War Against Rent Control

Sophie Kasakov, The New Republic

On August 24, the tenants of two buildings near the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles received letters from their landlord notifying them of a rent increase of over $800 a month. The increase was not a result of repairs or tax increases but rather, the letter said, of the upcoming election in November.

Sacramento rent control measure would put a cap on increases. You’ll get to vote on it in 2020

Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis, The Sacramento Bee

A home you can afford: How land trusts are changing Bay Area home ownership

Marissa Kendall, Mercury News

A year ago, Norma Sanchez and Ambrocio Carrera were on the verge of losing their East Oakland home — staring down a massive rent hike and with no hope of affording a new place close to their jobs or their three sons’ schools. Now, thanks to an innovative strategy gaining traction in the Bay Area, not only did the family stay put, they’re on their way to owning that home. “It’s very emotional,” Carrera said in Spanish. “It’s something that, in the beginning, you don’t believe. But here we are.”

The Costa Hawkins Act is Failing California

Paola Montes-Martinez, Voice of San Diego

California is currently in the grip of an extreme housing affordability crisis. This fall, California voters have the chance to pass Proposition 10 and repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which would return to local communities the ability to expand rent control and limit skyrocketing rents. In National City, residents will get to vote on a measure in November to control arbitrary rent increases by limiting them to no more than a 5 percent increase per year, coupled with just cause to prevent unjustified evictions. Repealing Costa-Hawkins and placing reasonable limits on how much landlords can increase rents each year is an easy, fair and necessary way to help tackle the current affordable housing crisis.

Concord apartment complex residents say they're being pushed out by increasing rent, poor conditions

Philippe Djegal, KRON 4

CONCORD (KRON) - Residents in an apartment complex in Concord claim they are being pushed out by poor living conditions and high rent increases. On Monday, KRON4 spoke with the affected families who took their concerns to City Hall. They are families who say they're living in poor conditions, facing no-cause evictions and unfair rent increases. Stopping by City Hall in Concord, they dropped off papers to have city inspectors tour their apartments and force their landlord to make repairs to problems that the tenants say have long been ignored.

Petitions Submitted to get Rent Control on National City Ballot

NBC 7 Staff

Supporters of a new ballot measure meant to control rent in National City submitted more than 3,500 petition signatures at City Hall Thursday. The coalition of tenants and community leaders say the rent control ordinance is needed to stabilize growing housing costs. San Diego County's average rent is approaching record highs according to statistics from several national companies. 

Rent Control Advocates Gather Enough Signatures for November Ballot

Doug Johnson, FOX 40

Hundreds of people from around California took to the streets of Sacramento Monday, advocating for rent control in their state.Activists with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment marched through downtown Sacramento and right into the lobby of the Senator Hotel on l Street. It's the building where the California Association of Realtors has their offices.

Rent Control Campaign in California Is Taken to the Streets

Oakland Tenants Take Direct Action to Fight Large Rent Hikes 

Sam Lefebvre, East Bay Express

One morning in February, tenants of an East Oakland fourplex, along with about a dozen activists, drove in several cars to an office park near San Jose to confront their landlord, David Lawver, about recent rent hikes of more than $1,000 per month.

Rent revolt: Ballot measure aims to stem skyrocketing prices in Sacramento

Michael Mott, Sacramento News & Review

For Fernando Nadal, the fight to bring rent control to Sacramento is personal. The retired nurse says he and his wife were evicted from their retirement community by a property manager who, among other things, claimed that a small gathering of acquaintances and journalists to discuss his son’s fatal drug overdose constituted having “a party” inside his rental unit.

‘Trash Tour’ of Oakland Shows Officials That  Not All Neighborhoods Are Treated Equally

Post Staff, Oakland Post

East Oakland residents took local officials on a “trash tour” of the city last weekend to highlight the differences in public services delivered to different parts of the city.

As renters struggle to pay the bills, landlords and speculators cash in

LA Times, Steve Lopez

Renita Barbee, 52, has begun packing up the belongings in her rented South Los Angeles home. She was trying hard to hold her composure as she told her story the other day. But at times, her eyes filled. "When I found this place, I fell in love," said Barbee, who moved into the three-bedroom, two-bath brown stucco home four years ago with her husband, daughter and mother...

Initiative to repeal California’s rent control restrictions hits milestone

OC Register, Katy Murphy

A ballot initiative to lift California’s statewide restrictions on rent control has hit a key milestone, with 25 percent of the signatures it needs to qualify for the November ballot, the California Secretary of State’s office confirmed. Organizers vowed to take their fight directly to the voters after a bill to repeal the restrictions died in its first committee hearing this year at a raucous January meeting attended by over 1,000 people on both sides of the contentious issue.

Advocates Garner Support to Get Rent Control on November Ballot

FOX 40, Doug Johnson 

"All you have to do is say rent control and you don't even have to ask them to sign the petition now, they want to sign the petition now," Ava Nadal said. It's all part of a larger effort to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Housing Act, a California law on the books for more than 20 years, which limits where local governments can enact rent control.

Landlord doubles rents in low-income Oakland neighborhood, sparking tenant protests

East Bay Times, Tammerlin Drummond

A wealthy Piedmont investor snapped up single-family homes during the foreclosure crisis that ravaged Oakland’s flatland neighborhoods. For years he barely raised rents, then he doubled them at once, sparking tenant protests.