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Bay Area renters fear end of eviction moratorium amid state rental assistance backlog

ANTIOCH – The state has been slow to pay the rental assistance it promised to tenants and landlords during the pandemic. Now thousands of Californians, including here in the Bay Area, are threatened with eviction in spite of the program that was supposed to prevent it. 

A year ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom proudly announced a program to completely reimburse landlords for the unpaid rent people owed during the pandemic.

"100 percent of your back rent, taken care of," he said at the time.

So, a lot of tenants and landlords scrambled to apply for the program, which was set to end on March 31. Kamilah Miller was one of them.

"I submitted my paperwork March 10th. I haven't heard a peep," said Miller.  "I even called just to say, hey, just want to make sure everything's in there.  And they're, like, 'It's in there.'  And that's it..."

Oakland limits rent increases to 3% for rent-controlled apartments

Oakland officials on Tuesday evening capped rent increases at 3% for rent-controlled apartments, effectively preventing landlords from raising rents by 6.7% starting in July, which had been on track to be one of the highest one-year rent increases in the city’s history.

The City Council voted 6-1 for an ordinance to restrain the rent increase, with Noel Gallo voting against the proposal and Loren Taylor abstaining.

The move came amid strong support from tenants’ rights advocates who said a massive rent increase could have a catastrophic impact on a city grappling with a rising homelessness crisis as many residents try to emerge from the pandemic downturn.

Oakland city leaders vote to prevent highest rent increase in decades

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) — Oakland city leaders have voted in favor of tenants, preventing a major rent hike for people living in protected units as the end of an eviction moratorium looms.

Renters and tenant representatives spoke for hours to the City Council on Tuesday, protesting the biggest citywide rent hike for controlled units ever — and the largest seen amid the Bay Area’s housing crisis. The Council responded with a 6–1 vote to lower a cap on price increases for rent-controlled units, that can take place July 1.

The Council will conduct a second reading of the proposal and a final vote on it in its next meeting.

Mold, plumbing problems persist at South L.A. apartment complex as city pledges action

Problems with mold and vermin, broken tubs and showers and other slum-like conditions continue to mount at a massive South Los Angeles apartment complex even as politicians, housing and public health officials are pledging to hold the landlord accountable.

City and county inspectors are planning to reassess all 425 units at Chesapeake Apartments in early June, following a Times story in April that revealed widespread tenant complaints and public health violations, including leaking sewage and gas and electrical failures.

“It’s not acceptable,” said Robert Galardi, the chief inspector at the city housing department. “The building is in need of some major renovations.”

LA Tenants Say City Is Failing To Hold Mega-Landlord Mike Nijjar Accountable For Slum Housing Conditions

Tenants at a sprawling apartment complex in South L.A. have complained for years about mold, pests, raw sewage and faulty heaters, but they say their landlord — one of the largest rental property owners in the state — still hasn’t fixed the terrible living conditions in their building. And they believe the city is letting him slide.

Holding signs reading “Mold Is Killing Us” and “We Are Sick Of Nijjar Slumlord,” tenants of the 425-unit Chesapeake apartments complex gathered outside the El Monte offices of PAMA Management on Friday to demand the company fix longstanding problems. The complex is run by PAMA Management, which is among the many business entities connected to one of California’s largest landlords, Mike Nijjar.

San Diegans about to have more eviction protections

Barbara Green has been served several notices of eviction from her San Diego apartment. "I was totally stressed before I got help. I didn’t know what I was going to do," she said.

The single mom of three said she was caught up on her rent, but added that her landlord wants to give the family the boot using a loophole in eviction law: renovations. "The landlord is just greedy, and he’s never made proper renovations the whole seven years that I’ve been here. He just wanted to make more money," she said.

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, or ACCE, stepped in to help Green. And she's getting more help from the city of San Diego, through a temporary extension of eviction protections that close a renovation loophole.

But representatives for landlords say the ordinance adds an unnecessary burden for people who want to sell their properties, or who waited to do renovations because of the pandemic.

San Diego County homelessness spikes at least 10% since 2020, Task Force finds

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Homelessness in San Diego has grown by at least 10% since 2020, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness revealed Thursday by releasing its 2022 WeAllCount Point-in-Time Count, a one-day snapshot of the minimum number of San Diegans living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens and on streets and along riverbeds.

The count found 8,427 people experiencing homelessness across San Diego County, a minimum number.

"Either way you look at it, there are far too many people experiencing homelessness. We are also seeing more families, more people with disabilities, more women, more seniors, and more Black people, so there are some trends we are concerned about. Our Veteran numbers are down 30% from where they were in 2020, so that is very promising," said Tamera Kohler, CEO, The Regional Task Force on Homelessness.

Debate continues on Chula Vista tenant protection ordinance

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – After hours of heated debate, Chula Vista city leaders will take even more time to vote on new rules impacting rental homes.

On Tuesday, Chula Vista City Council voted to postpone taking action on a new tenant protection ordinance. Mayor Mary Casillas Salas believes the measure would fight “no-fault” evictions and lend help to families getting priced out in the tight housing market.

More than 50 speakers signed up to state their case before the council with two very different sides emerging, largely split between tenants and local landlords.

“We’re low income, so where are we going to go?” Dora Parra said. “I got two weeks. I’ve been at this residence 17 years.”