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Column: At L.A. City Hall, victory went to the little guy in battle over rents and evictions

Los Angeles Times - Diana Castellanos and her husband have three daughters, a two-bedroom apartment in South Los Angeles, and two full-time jobs.

But the recent notice of a looming rent increase, from $1,495 to $2,350 a month, left them in a panic.

“It’s already tight,” said Castellanos, a city employee who works as a parking attendant while her husband is assistant manager of a Hollywood theater. “Gas costs more. Food costs more. Clothes cost more.”

The rent hike was as good as an eviction, since they couldn’t afford it. So the family began searching for another place to live, but that was a discouraging adventure here in the land of high rents and flat wages.

Nueva ley de control de renta en California beneficiará a cientos de miles de familias en Los Ángeles

Univision - Más de 1 millón de viviendas en el condado de Los Ángeles podrían entrar dentro de la protección de control de rentas bajo la Ley AB 1482 firmada por el gobernador de California. La nueva normativa no solo controlará el porcentaje de incremento, sino también las reglas de desalojos.

California gets its first statewide rent control, eviction protections

San Francisco Chronicle - .. Amy Schur, campaign director for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action, one of the sponsors of the rent-cap bill, said legislators were finally forced to confront how severe the housing crisis has gotten. About half of renter households in California spend more than a third of their income on housing, which experts consider unaffordable.

Her group, which organizes tenants, canvassed in lawmakers’ neighborhoods and occupied the governor’s office to urge support for renter-protection measures. She said politicians were waking up to the power of 17 million California renters.

“It’s up to the people in our state to stand up to corporate interests and defend consumers,” Schur said.

California will limit rent increases under bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom

LA Times - ... "Sasha Graham of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, an advocacy group for low-income renters that was a key supporter of the bill, told the crowd at the signing event on Tuesday that five years ago she faced a $1,000-a-month rent hike at a Richmond apartment she had been living in for a decade — an increase of more than 150%. When she was able to scrape together the additional money, the landlord evicted her.

Graham said she and her son became homeless for three years while she was working and going to college.

“It is not an overstatement when I say that the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 will literally save lives,” Graham said. “It will prevent millions of families from facing the same kind of outrageous rent increases and unfair evictions that put my son and I on the streets.”

California Governor Signs Law Capping Rent Prices

ESSENCE - California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law on Tuesday that will cap rent increases for certain Californians over the next decade. Proponents of the bill say the legislation will help combat the housing crisis persistent throughout The Golden State.

According to the Associated Press, there are 17 million renters throughout California. Of those, more than half spend 30 percent or more on their monthly housing costs. The fallout from that reality can be seen in the rising numbers of those considered homeless. A recent report states that there has been a 43 percent increase in the last two years.

Black Housing Union Emerges in Oakland

KQED - The leaders of a local nonprofit that helped push a statewide rent cap through the Legislature this month are now focusing on building an African American housing union in Oakland.

About 100 black residents, city leaders and advocates gathered at the West Oakland Branch of the Oakland Public Library on Saturday to discuss ways to fight displacement. It was the second town hall this summer. The first was held in May.

Standing outside the door of the packed room, local resident Maurice Hedgepeth said he came because he has a good job as a truck driver but can't see himself owning a home where he grew up.

"I was just hoping to hear that they were walking down the path of solutions that can help get a lot of us out of this problem," said Hedgepeth.

The meeting focused on educating people about housing rights, including a presentation from the city's Rent Adjustment Board about what sorts of rent hikes are allowable and how to arbitrate illegal increases.

It also focused on the housing discrimination black folks have historically faced in Oakland — such as redlining — with the ultimate goal of mobilizing those who are impacted.

That included informing attendees about strategies that are already at play. For example, the Oakland Community Land Trust "removes land from the speculative market so that it serves low-income residents forever." It is among the organizations that will benefit from $12 million allocated in this year's city budget to create a municipal fund supporting such trusts and limited equity housing cooperatives.

Big Win in Sacramento for Anti Rent-Gouging and Eviction Protections

After years of escalating and brutal displacement driving millions of Californians into poverty or homelessness, today, the California legislature this week passed Assembly Bill 1482 (Chiu) which is now headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. If approved by the governor, this could become the strongest anti rent-gouging and just-cause eviction law in the nation.

AB 1482, also known as the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, has been driven in large part by the advocacy of tenant leaders of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and other organizing groups. The bill gives protections to 7 million tenants, covering more tenants than any single tenant protection bill in recent US history. It will cap rent increases statewide at 5 percent plus the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as well as stop unfair evictions by requiring landlords to have a “just cause” for evicting their tenants.

“This victory proves that California’s renters are a force to be reckoned with, and we aren’t done yet. Led by people of color and seniors, the renters most likely to become homeless without these types of protections, ACCE members will keep fighting and keep winning until every single Californian is guaranteed a safe and affordable home,” said Christina Livingston, the executive director of ACCE.

LA County Set to Impose Permanent Rent Control for Unincorporated Areas

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to move forward on a permanent rent control ordinance for unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who had consistently opposed rental controls in favor of easing development-related regulations, voted in agreement with her colleagues.

"I feel as though a compromise has been made," she said. "When I hear the stories about landlords increasing (rents) by over 100% ... I think that it's an unfair shift to individuals that may be vulnerable."

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