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Editorial: California renters need relief. That means weakening Costa-Hawkins

Over the last few years, California’s elected officials have finally gotten serious about fixing the housing shortage that is eroding the quality of life here. Lawmakers have passed bills to streamline the development of housing in urban areas and to make it harder for cities to block much-needed housing construction. Voters have approved billions of dollars in new spending to subsidize affordable homes.

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

SACRAMENTO — 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.

California Lawmakers Try Again To Tamp Down Rising Rents

(AP) — 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.

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

SACRAMENTO — 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.

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

Reporting from Sacramento — 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.

Subprime Redux: How a Mom From Van Nuys Is Taking on the Biggest Real Estate Corporations in the Country

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.

The ‘heartbreaking’ decrease in black homeownership

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.

Stephen Lerner & Christina Livingston

With housing costs gobbling up wage increases for union members and almost everyone else, labor must prioritize housing affordability. 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.

Why Unions Must Bargain for Affordable Housing—and How

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

According to the official records, U.S. workers went on strike seven times during 2017. That’s a particular nadir in the long decline of organized labor: the second-fewest work stoppages recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics since the agency started keeping track in the 1940s.

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

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

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.

The Deceptive, Shameful, Lucratively Funded War Against Rent Control

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.

Why Rent Control Is a Lightning Rod

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.

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

Sacramento would cap rent hikes at 5 percent under a measure that qualified Thursday for the 2020 ballot as city residents grapple with soaring housing costs. City officials said Thursday that a petition drive, backed by rent control advocates and labor unions, has gained enough signatures — 44,000 — to qualify for the city ballot in two years. The signatures were independently tallied and analyzed by county voting officials. The “Sacramento Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment” would limit rent increases as well as restrict landlords’ ability to evict renters. It also establishes an elected rental-housing board tasked with monitoring and enforcing rent controls.

The Costa-Hawkins Act Is Failing California

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.

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

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.”

Petitions Submitted to Get Rent Control on National City Ballot

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

SACRAMENTO -- 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

How do you get a landlord to endorse a proposal to limit rent increases? Yong Her, a 39-year-old bookkeeper, was one of 40 or so organizers who considered the question on a recent afternoon. The group had gathered in a conference room here to discuss strategies for getting people of various backgrounds, incomes and occupations to sign a petition to put a rent-control measure before Sacramento’s voters.

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

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.

Oakland Tenants Take Direct Action to Fight Large Rent Hikes

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Initiative to repeal California’s rent control restrictions hits milestone

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.