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Alameda County renter advocates warn of landlord lobby’s “fake tenant’s rights website”

ALAMEDA COUNTY - When the website launched recently, it seemed innocuous enough. It claimed to be aimed at informing renters in Alameda County about tenant protections–an issue of increased interest since the county’s eviction moratorium expired last week.

It even features a video on its homepage featuring two Alameda County supervisors, David Haubert and Lena Tam, encouraging renters to know their rights . . .

The problem, say local tenant advocates, is that the website is run by the California Apartment Association, a landlord lobby group, and is spreading misinformation, as well as diverting renters searching for help online away from valuable resources. In a statement, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a local grassroots organization working on racial and economic justice issues, likened the website to fake abortion clinics set up by anti-choice groups.

“We’re worried that people will see this website and think they have rights that they don’t, they’ll misunderstand the court processes,” said Jackie Zaneri, a senior attorney for ACCE. “There’s really nothing on this website that I would tell a tenant to rely on.”

A System That Makes Housing a Commodity Can’t Serve Human Needs

Even before the pandemic, America was in the midst of a massive housing crisis. Now, it’s far worse. Our housing agenda has to include investing in public housing, universal rent control, just-cause eviction, and a broad push to decommodify housing.

Legal Aid Foundation: The Most Important Resource You Hope You’ll Never Need

For a college student being evicted or an elderly woman faced with losing her apartment, the Legal Aid Foundation is Santa Barbara County’s safety net for anyone who can’t afford a lawyer. The nonprofit’s work was thrown into high profile upon the eviction of hundreds of tenants from among the 254 apartments at Isla Vista’s CBC & The Sweeps, with reports that they fielded dozens more calls at their Help Desk than usual after the quit notices were served on residents.

Alameda briefs: Council OKs $75K hiring bonus for new police officers

ALAMEDA, CA - The Prosecution and Public Rights Unit of the Alameda City Attorney’s Office will hold its third annual fair housing conference, which will be free and open to all members of the public.

The seminar will take place from 9 a.m. to noon April 20 in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of Alameda City Hall at 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. This year will be the first time the event will be held in-person. The seminar will be full of helpful information on federal, regional and local housing laws, including:

  • tenant relocation and other hot topics
  • the latest on rent laws and the end of the eviction moratorium
  • introduction to fair housing laws
  • disability rights
  • and the new mediation program and other services offered by the Alameda City Attorney’s Office

Speakers will be Leah Simon-Weisberg (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), Nathanael Hill (the federal Housing and Urban Development Department branch chief), Gary Rhoades (Santa Monica Deputy City Attorney) and professional staff and attorneys from the Alameda City Attorney’s Office.

‘Housing is a human right.’ Rally calls on Legislature to address California cost of living

SACRAMENTO, CA - Hundreds of families from across California joined affordable housing advocates at the state Capitol on Monday to show their support for two legislative proposals aimed at the high cost of living in California.

The rally was organized by Housing Now, a statewide coalition of more than 150 organizations, to support Senate Bill 567, which would lower the maximum allowable rent increase to 5% and prevent landlords from evicting tenants without a legal reason, and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10, which would add housing as a fundamental human right to the state constitution.

California’s Proposal to Make Housing a Fundamental Human Right Moves Forward

A proposed constitutional amendment to make housing a fundamental human right in California is moving forward in the Legislature.

Democratic leadership referred Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 10—introduced by Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco)—to the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee, where it is expected to receive its first public hearing. No date had been set for the hearing as of April 25.

“Housing is indeed a human right,” Haney wrote on Twitter April 25. “Without access to housing, everything else suffers: health, safety, educational attainment, access to food and water, addiction, and jobs.”

Civil rights attorney files federal lawsuit against Antioch cops named in racist text scandal

ANTIOCH, CA — One by one Thursday they walked up to the microphone, stared into the cameras and gathered their composure. Standing beside civil rights attorneys John Burris and Ben Nisenbaum, about a half-dozen Black and Latino people shared their stories.

Filled with anger, resentment and grief, they each described encounters with the Antioch Police Department a day after their attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the city’s police force.

“It’s hard for me to get a job, because they put me on the move so much,” said Joshua Butler, a plaintiff in the lawsuit who said he and his family have been harassed by Antioch police officers since he was a teenager. “I’ve been dealing with a lot, dealing with cases, getting harassed, can’t even sleep in my own house peacefully. It’s just like the whole family, they’re being targeted. It’s like, you know, at some point there’s gotta be an end to it.”

Protesters Demand Action in Wake of Antioch Police Racist Texts Scandal

ANTIOCH, CA - Fallout continues from a string of alleged racist and homophobic text messages shared among the Antioch Police Department.

Dozens of community members held a rally and march in protest ahead of Tuesday's special city council meeting. Demonstrators demanded immediate action and accountability as the number of police officers involved in the scandal continues to grow.

"How are we going to feel if we can not call someone when we are in danger that is actually going to help us?" said Devin Williams, who helped organize the rally.

Oakland Council Members Propose Phasing Out Eviction Moratorium by September

OAKLAND, CA - In Oakland, a debate is heating up about how pandemic protections against eviction should come to a close.

Tuesday, Oakland's Community & Economic Development Committee will discuss a proposed ordinance brought forward by council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and council President Pro Tem Dan Kalb that would set up a gradual timeline for ending the city's eviction moratorium. If approved, the proposed ordinance would phase out the eviction moratorium, allowing certain evictions to resume from May through the end of August, then ending the eviction moratorium on Sept. 1.

The ordinance also seeks to make several changes to strengthen Oakland's existing just cause eviction protections.

Town hall: America’s largest landlord raises rent, evicts tenants in SD

SAN DIEGO, CA - Local tenants and activists met at Logan Heights Library with City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera to call for more tenant protections on March 25. The town hall coincided with a report from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP) and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) called “Blackstone comes to collect: How America’s Largest Landlord and Wall Street’s Highest Paid CEO Are Jacking Up Rents and Ramping Up Evictions.”

The Blackstone Group is the largest private equity company in the world, with $975 Billion in assets under management (AUM). Blackstone is by far the nation’s largest landlord, owning and managing over 300,000 units of rental housing in the U.S., and many more around the world. The report shows that Blackstone bought 5,600 units in San Diego County in 2021. As units become vacant, the company raised rents in some units between 43-64% in just two years.

L.A. County’s eviction moratorium has expired. What does that mean for renters?

LOS ANGELES, CA - The last day of March marked the end of Los Angeles County’s pandemic-era eviction protections.

Even before then, evictions had been on the rise. In the last year, eviction filings across the county have returned to pre-pandemic levels of more than 3,000 per month, according to Kyle Nelson, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA.

California lawmakers push housing, homelessness bills — but will they work?

CALIFORNIA - Take a random selection of 10,000 Californians and 44 people will be homeless, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Human Services. That’s over 171,000 people across the Golden State. Half of the nation's unsheltered population — people living on the streets, in tents, in cars, in parks — live in California. On top of that, 17 million California renters face housing instability according to the California Budget and Policy Center.

Homelessness and not enough affordable housing are not new issues in California, but rising home prices, skyrocketing rent, and the growing number of people living without shelter have brought public frustration to a boiling point, with local mayors, city councils, and county boards of supervisors taking the brunt of that frustration as they stumble through policies and initiatives to try to respond to the parallel crises.

A bevy of bills floating through the Legislature this year hope to strengthen the state’s involvement in easing those frustrations. Will they work? 

Gran preocupación por el incremento de desalojos de vivienda al decretarse el fin de la pandemia

LOS ANGELES, CA - “Estoy profundamente preocupada por el fuerte aumento en los desalojos ahora que ciertas protecciones para inquilinos han terminado. Mientras trabajamos para dar un techo a los angelinos, también tenemos que evitar que se queden en el desamparo”, declaró esta semana la alcaldesa de Los Ángeles, Karen Bass.

Dijo que espera que las protecciones de emergencia aprobadas por la Ciudad de Los Ángeles protejan a los inquilinos de los desalojos ilegales. “Nadie en nuestra ciudad debería enfrentar ninguna forma de discriminación por la vivienda o un desalojo ilegal”.

A partir del 1 de abril, las protecciones de desalojo por no pago de la renta debido al covid terminaron. A fin de evitar el desalojo, los inquilinos deben pagar su renta completa cada mes.

Santa Barbara County to Hold Special Meeting Thursday on Tenant Protections

SANTA BARBARA, CA - The renoviction of about 1,000 tenants living at CBC & the Sweeps in Isla Vista had their county supervisor, Laura Capps, calling it a Code Red at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday over the “exploitation from out-of-state companies in the biggest mass eviction in California.”

By the end of a long day, Chair Das Williams announced that a meeting to discuss new just cause eviction ordinance language would be held on an urgency basis on Thursday, April 6. The hearing takes place at 9 a.m.

Sacramento considers whether a tenant anti-harassment law could help housing issues

SACRAMENTO, CA - The city of Sacramento is evaluating proposed new rules designed to protect tenants from harassment, but it’s unclear whether the draft plan will receive enough votes to pass in the next few months. 

Opponents of the tenant anti-harassment ordinance say it isn’t necessary because state laws cover many of the issues, while supporters argue it’s difficult to hold landlords accountable to existing laws. 

Council member Caity Maple proposed the ordinance and said she modeled it after renter laws passed in cities such as Richmond, Oakland and Los Angeles. Despite state and federal landlord-tenant laws, Maple said many low-income and undocumented renters in the Oak Park area are struggling with landlord harassment. Organizers with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment told her a local ordinance could help. 

California Landlords Can Evict Renters for Repairs. A New Bill Could Limit That

BAY AREA, CA - After more than a decade in the same Concord apartment with his wife and three kids, Antonio Avila Garcia is getting evicted.

Not because he failed to pay or broke the lease, but because his landlord wants to remodel. But Avila Garcia doesn't want to leave the tight-knit community he's built.

"We all know each other here," he said. "I even have a brother [who lives] here, too."

Major renovations are one of the few reasons outlined in the 2019 Tenant Protection Act that landlords in California can use to evict tenants who haven’t done anything wrong. The landmark legislation was designed to curb the impacts of rising rents and keep tenants in their homes. But housing advocates said the substantial-repairs exception created a loophole property owners are exploiting to kick renters out.

New Los Angeles ‘mansion tax’ has some sellers racing to close

LOS ANGELES, CA - In the rarified air of luxury Los Angeles real estate, 30 days is a common closing timeline and two weeks would be speedy, explained Billy Rose, who’s guided buyers and sellers through high-end home purchases for years.

This week, work for Rose’s brokerage firm, The Agency, included two deals that went to closing in three days. There was one for $8.6 million and another for $14 million, said Rose, the co-founder and vice chairman. Both were cash transactions.

The catalyst is the City of Los Angeles’ “mansion tax,” a transfer tax that takes effect April 1.

‘We are not for sale’: L.A. tenant protestors fight to make housing a human right

LOS ANGELES, CA - “There’s never been a better time to build,” says Blackstone, the largest commercial landlord group in America.

But long-time residents of East Los Angeles neighborhoods say otherwise.

“La vivienda es un derecho humano. Housing is a human right.”

“No community benefit, no investment. Keep families home. Blackstone = Homelessness.”

These were just a few of the signs raised by a crowd of tenant protestors as they gathered in Currie Hall, a student housing building at the USC Health Sciences Campus on Wednesday.

The protest, organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment L.A. (ACCE Action), consisted of tenant demands for affordable housing and an outcry against displacement in the neighborhoods surrounding USC, particularly in East L.A., where the HSC campus is located.


Tenants of America's Biggest Landlord Form Union to Fight Evictions, Rent Hikes

SAN DIEGO, CA - The largest landlord in the United States resumed evictions in 2022 after years of upholding a self-imposed eviction ban, and in at least one city that means resetting rents with huge increases, a new report says. And now, tenants in buildings owned by investment firm Blackstone are organizing to do something about it. 

VIDEO: Blackstone STEALING Homes From Working Class Americans | Breaking Points

Krystal breaks down how large financial players like Blackstone are hoarding American housing and pricing out millions of Americans.

Tenant rights activists show support for Imperial Beach family facing eviction

SAN DIEGO, CA - Demonstrators gathered in Imperial Beach to stand in solidarity with mother of two Patricia Mendoza, who faces the prospect of losing her home.

Mendoza has lived in the house on Holly Avenue since 2017 and says she always pays her rent on time. She recently received a 60-day notice to vacate so the property can be remodeled.

But the single mom believes it’s because she pays less than her new neighbors, who live in adjacent properties that are owned by the same landlord.

Evictions rise, tenants scramble for help as LA County protections expire

LOS ANGELES, CA - Irma Cervantes could barely afford the $750 monthly rent for the converted garage apartment she lives in with her children in East Los Angeles when she worked full time at a laundromat.

When the pandemic shut down non-essential businesses, Cervantes was out of a job. Then she got sick with long COVID-19.

Now she owes 10 months rent, she said, and is trying to pay it down. Her three children, ages 19 to 23, are helping by working part-time jobs.

Her landlord has increased demands for payment and wants her out, Cervantes said. And on March 31, L.A. County’s tenant eviction protections are set to expire.

“I’m left thinking, what will happen when there aren’t any protections,” Cervantes said. “What will I do with my kids? We can’t pay $1,600 rent.”


Aumentan los desalojos y los inquilinos en el condado de Los Ángeles buscan ayuda; protecciones terminan este 31 de Marzo

LOS ANGELES, CA - Irma Cervantes apenas podía pagar el alquiler mensual de $750 del apartamento convertido en garaje en el que vive con sus hijos en el este de Los Ángeles cuando trabajaba a tiempo completo en una lavandería.

Cuando la pandemia cerró negocios no esenciales, Cervantes se quedó sin trabajo. Luego se enfermó de COVID-19 por largo tiempo. 

Ahora debe 10 meses de renta, dijo, y está tratando de pagarla. Sus tres hijos, de 19 a 23 años, están ayudando con trabajos de medio tiempo. 

Su arrendador ha aumentado las demandas de pago y quiere que se vaya, dijo Cervantes. Y el 31 de marzo, las protecciones de desalojo para inquilinos del condado de Los Ángeles expirarán. 

“Me quedo pensando qué pasará cuando no haya protección”, dijo Cervantes. “¿Qué voy a hacer con mis hijos? No podemos pagar $1,600 de renta”.



LOS ANGELES, CA - Following weeks of uncharacteristically gloomy days, the weather broke late in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 15, seemingly in preparation for the 4:30 PM Unite for Los Angeles Schools rally in Grand Park outside City Hall. The gathered crowd buzzed with excitement and righteous indignation. Drums and horns sounded, signs and t-shirts were given out and street vendors peddled everything from cotton candy to tacos, making the event feel more like a music festival than a rally.

Our headliners? Leaders from two of the largest unions in Los Angeles County.

SF lawmaker seeks state amendment to make housing a human right

Is having a roof over your head a basic human right?

Assemblyman Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, thinks so, and has proposed an amendment to the state constitution to do just that, the San Jose Mercury News reported.