Tenant Convention Sunday!

2016-RSB-convention-flyer-IMAGE-1200x1200FNLThe 2016 Rent Board Convention to select a pro-tenant slate for the elected Rent Board will be held on April 24th – THIS SUNDAY! – at the South Berkeley Senior Center on Ellis at Ashby. The gathering is sponsored this year by BTU, Friends of Adeline, the Berkeley NAACP, Berkeley Green Party, Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Berkeley Citizens Action, Socialist Alliance, the Peace and Freedom Party, CalSERVE, and UC Berkeley Students for Bernie Sanders.

The convention has been held each election year by a coalition of progressive groups for over 20 years in order to present a unified slate for the November Rent Board election. This year, there are 11 candidates for four seats. Because Rent Board Commissioner is the only elected office in Berkeley with term limits, there are only two protenant incumbents: Asa Dodsworth and Alejandro Soto-Vigil.
Candidate statements are on the convention website. Asa Dodsworth and Marcia Levinson did not send written responses. Sponsoring groups also send representatives to rate the candidates, interview them, and get more information about specific concerns of their membership. The convention site will also host the ratings and comments from community screeners, as well as the rules of the convention.

Candidate statements, screener feedback, convention rules:
http://berkeleytenantsconvention.net/

Candidates are:

Asa Dodsworth, Marcia Levenson, Matthew Lewis, Thomas Lord, Christina Murphy, Poki Namkung, Christine Schwartz, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Igor Tregub, Eleanor Walden. Dodsworth, Simon-Weisberg, Lewis, and Tregub have served on the BTU steering committee.

BEWARE! You must be inside for all candidate statements in order to vote. Folks not in by 2 PM may not get ballots. Convention starts Sunday at 1:30 PM!

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Good News: Community Survey

by guest author Rob Wrenn

The City of Berkeley’s March 2016 Community Survey has now been released and it contains good news for advocates for increased funding for affordable housing.

Given a choice of 12 issues, “Building affordable housing” was ranked number 1 by survey respondents with 22%, followed by the related issue of “Addressing  homelessness” with 17% .

37% answered that “providing affordable housing” was “extremely important”, while 41% said it was “very important”.  As far as actions considered extremely important, “providing homeless services” was number 2, with 33%.

Increasing the Business License Tax on Landlords
Four questions were asked about increasing the Business License Tax on landlords of residential buildings, an action supported by BTU, BCA, the Berkeley Progressive Alliance and affordable housing advocates generally. The survey shows strong support for the tax, which need not be written to require more than a 50% vote.

When asked whether they would vote for a measure to increase the tax on landlords with five or more units by an average of $30 a month per rental unit, with revenues going to providing new affordable housing and homelessness prevention efforts, 60% said Yes, and 13% were undecided or didn’t know.

The same question, but applied to landlords of buildings with 10 or more units, received 55% yes; 20% undecided.

When told that the increase in the tax could not be passed on to tenants and would bring in a about $4 million every year, enough to create 300 affordable units over ten years and would also fund emergency rental assistance to help Berkeley families avoid homelessness, the yes vote jumped to 67%

Finally  if the tax were $45 a month per unit and would bring in about $6 million a year, enough to create 450 affordable units,  53% said they would be more likely to vote for it; 23% said less likely.

Housing Bond Measure
61% said they would vote for a $500 million Alameda County bond measure to fund construction, development, acquisition, and preservation of affordable housing affordable to low and middle income individuals and families that would prioritize vulnerable populations and would provide down payment assistance for middle income households. Tax after bonds were issued would be $12 per $100,000 in assessed value. 18% said no and 21 were undecided or replied that they didn’t know. Such a bond would require a two-thirds vote countywide and would have to be strongly supported in Berkeley to pass countywide.

Demographic info:

  • 48% of respondents were home owners; 47% were tenants
  • Only 11% were full-time students; 20% were retired
  • 62% of respondents were white; 10% black; 10% Asian
  • Only 14% were 18-24.
  • 72% were reached on a cell phone.
  • 43% lived in Council districts 5, 6 and 8 where turnout tends to be high in local elections; 30% from the progressive districts 3, 4 and 7 that have large tenant populations.
  • On the whole, students, who are likely to support such a measure, were underrepresented in the sample and white people were slightly overrepresented relative to the population.
  • 34% consider themselves “progressive” “in terms of local politics”, while 34% consider themselves “liberal” and 21% “moderate”; with only 5% for “conservative”.
  • Only 3% were Republicans.

Public Financing
38% said they would support an amendment to the City Charter for public financing of local elections. 32% were opposed; 30%, a sizable number, undecided.

You can find the entire survey here:
http://www.berkeleyside.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Community-Survey-032116.pdf

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ORGANIZE!

A new law requires balconies be inspected and repaired.

A new law requires balconies be inspected and repaired.

Your Berkeley Tenants Union’s quarterly members meeting will be March 30th. It is open to all members, and you can join BTU at the meeting if you are willing to sign our member pledge. Contact us for more information.

The 2016 Rent Board Convention to select a pro-tenant slate for the elected Rent Board will be held on April 24th, a Sunday, at the South Berkeley Senior Center. Potential candidates should contact the convention, which has been held each election year by a coalition of progressive groups for over 20 years.
http://berkeleytenantsconvention.net/

Hot topics at the March 30th meeting (besides the upcoming Tenant Convention) will be proposed ballot measures to increase owner-eviction relocation funds and to fund affordable housing through a windfall profits tax on larger landlords, as well the upcoming Council consideration of an anti-harassment law known as the Tenant Protection Ordinance.
Read the BTU March Newsletter

They are Organizing, Are You?

Oakland Ballot Measure to Make Rent Control Real
“The measure would extend protections under the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to thousands more Oakland rental units, implement the currently un-enforced Tenant Protection Ordinance, and reform the existing Rent Adjustment Program (Oakland’s weak substitute for rent control) to make it much harder for landlords to raise rents above the rate of inflation, place an absolute 5% per year cap on rent increases, cover more rental units under rent control, and ensure a tenant-majority Rent Board, among other improvements.”
http://www.oaklandtenantsunion.org/news

“Currently, apartment units built after 1983 do not fall under Oakland’s just cause eviction protections, therefore landlords can evict tenants for almost any reason in those buildings when their lease is up. According to sponsors of the Renters Upgrade initiative, this change would bring 45 percent more of Oakland’s rental housing under just cause protection. The Renters Upgrade ballot measure would also set a cap on rent increases at 5 percent.
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2016/03/03/oakland-tenant-advocates-file-initiative-to-strengthen-rent-control-and-eviction-protections

“If approved by voters, the initiative would cap rent increases at 5 percent a year, down from the 10 percent landlords can raise rents annually; create a rent board with mostly tenants as members; and expand eviction protections to units built after 1983 that are not protected under the city’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance. The so-called “Renters Upgrade” measure would require city leaders to prioritize enforcement and implementation.”
http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29596130/oakland-tenants-groups-pushing-rent-control-ballot-measure

Alameda Renters Gathering Signatures
http://www.ebcitizen.com/2016/02/alameda-group-seeks-to-place-rent.html

Read the Proposed Alameda Ordinance here:
http://www.thealamedarenterscoalition.org/

Alameda May Be Harassing Tenant Group
After filing their ballot measure, Alameda renters were talking outside the clerk’s office when they were approached by police. While that may not seem odd, the same Alameda group found a police officer scrutinizing them at a public meeting the month before.

“Warmerdam <the Interim City Manager> was the Alameda official, according to city emails,  who asked that plainclothes officers monitor renters at a council meeting last Jan. 5. The officer’s identity became known after a renter saw one of them accidentally drop his handcuffs.
http://www.publicceo.com/2016/03/alameda-city-hall-called-cops-on-renters-group-filing-rent-control-ballot-measure/

Richmond Ballot Measure
The Fair and Affordable Richmond Coalition — consisting of elected officials, renters, homeowners and activists — on Tuesday gathered to officially file the petition with the city clerk. The group will have until June to gather 4,198 valid signatures to place the measure on the November ballot. A rent control ordinance was narrowly passed by the City Council in August, but it was repealed in November after a landlord association circulated a petition. Since then, affordable-housing activists have promised to bring the measure to the November ballot. Had the ordinance approved in August been implemented, Richmond would have been the first California city in more than 30 years to pass rent control.”
http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29552957/richmond-group-pushes-bring-rent-control-measure-voters

“Claudia Jimenez, a homeowner in Richmond who is a community organizer with the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), said, “The Richmond City Council passed some renter protections including rent control, and just cause eviction protections that were supposed to go into effect last year to protect Richmond renters. However, the California Apartment Association (CAA) spent a lot of money to hire people who gathered enough signatures for a petition that blocked the renter protections from going into effect.”
http://www.thestreetspirit.org/the-struggle-for-renter-protections-in-richmond/

Over on the Other Team

Berkeley Landlord PAC Attempts to Seem Reasonable…
We represent the voice of rental housing providers through our political action committee and legal defense fund. We are here to restore fairness, efficiency and objectivity to Berkeley’s rental housing policies.”
http://www.thebrhc.org/

…While the BPOA Continues to Seem Odd
And so welcome to the latest arrival on the local scene, the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition. It cannot be said to represent we, the people nor does it comprise a Declaration of Independence. It does, however, establish and ordain an organization to address our rightful grievances to the government which shackles rental housing in so many ways. And, to quote another revered figure from American history, ‘it is altogether fitting and proper that we do this.’ ”
http://bpoa.org/

California Apartment Association Just Won’t Quit
http://www.preservetheellisact.org/

IMG_8492

The Berkeley Tenants Union Quarterly Members Meeting Will Be Wednesday March 30th.

Why The November Election Matters
The Berkeley City Council rejected a perfectly fine option to fund affordable housing through real estate transfer taxes. Councilman Jesse Arreguin, the progressive leader running for mayor, explains why we need to win back City Council in this election: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2016-03-11/article/44234?headline=Council-Action-Needed-to-Prevent-Berkeley-Displacement–Councilmember-Jesse-Arreguin

The Berkeley Tenant Convention Will Be Sunday April 24th.

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UC’s Tenants Rights Week

Students Can’t Afford Housing at $1,500 per Room
A graduate of Hunter College in New York City, Sliwowski said that the two-bedroom apartment he had rented in the notoriously competitive Manhattan housing market as an undergraduate cost him and his roommates a total of $1600 a month. In Berkeley, after subletting a room in a house for two months that had been rented out on AirBnB, he finally beat out 59 other applicants to pay $1500 a month for a room in a house. “The university is failing to do anything to control rents in Berkeley, and failing to adequately inform students about the cost of housing,” he said.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/04/priced-out-of-house-and-home/

UC Berkeley’s Role in the Housing Emergency
While the student housing crisis is a symptom of a regional problem, the fault also rests with campus administrators, who have failed to create enough housing opportunities for students. UC Berkeley houses fewer students than most other UC campuses, providing only 24.7 percent of undergraduates and 2.6 percent of graduate students with campus housing. Even when the campus creates new student housing, it is often unaffordable for many students. In fact U.S. News and World report ranked UC Berkeley as the fifth most expensive school in the country in terms of campus housing costs.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/08/347468/

What is Affordable Housing?
“Affordable housing is housing that only costs 30 percent of the renter’s income. In Berkeley, however, housing can be considered “affordable” when it costs up to 50 percent — and even 80 percent — of the household’s income. And in the eyes of Sophie Hahn, a member of the city’s Zoning Adjustment Board, this expectation is not at all affordable and reveals the heart of the affordable housing issue in Berkeley.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/04/quick-dirty-guide-affordable-housing/

About the Co-ops
Central to its design is the understanding that in order to receive a quality education, students must have access to affordable housing. This is especially relevant at UC Berkeley, which measures its value by accessibility. UC Berkeley’s former chancellor Robert Birgeneau once said the UC’s “educational excellence is accessible and affordable,” a quality that makes Berkeley a uniquely “vital and diverse intellectual community.” But this is not the reality. Students at UC Berkeley face a brutally expensive housing market, which presents an obvious contradiction: UC Berkeley cannot claim to provide access to excellent education as long as it considers quality of life and quality of education separately.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/10/sharing-berkeleys-housing-burden/

Find the Rest of the Daily Californian’s Housing Issue Here:
http://www.dailycal.org/section/special/housing-issue-2016/

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Housing News

Berkeley Council Invites Mostly Developers to Discuss Affordable Housing Options:
Former Planning Director Mark Rhoades, now a developer himself, was a featured speaker at the February 16 Council forum.
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/02/17/berkeley-considers-ways-to-build-more-affordable-housing/

Several speakers who work for, or consult with, developers said Berkeley’s public process is to blame for rising building costs.
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/17/city-council-discusses-problems-solutions-affordable-housing-crisis-work-session-tuesday/

Berkeley has built only 206 below-market rentals since 2012

Berkeley has approved only 206 below-market rentals since 2012

8% Affordable Housing Will Not Address Crisis
“With those units, plus all of the projects at various stages of the use permit application process as well as those under construction, the totals since 2012 come out to 206 affordable units out of 2,787 total units, or 8 percent (see ABAG slide above).
…There was consensus among the experts that the city needs to expedite housing construction by facilitating funding and cutting red tape. But not all of them bought into the oft-cited notion that building lots of luxury housing will put a significant dent in the affordable housing shortage… Several lamented what they saw as the loss of economic and ethnic diversity in a city where skyrocketing residential rents are out of reach of most working people, many of them minorities. The rising rents represent “a major transfer of income from tenants to real estate investors,” and they vastly exceed what a landlord needs to profitably operate and maintain a building, said former Berkeley Housing Director Steve Barton, one of the presenters on Tuesday.”
http://www.dailydemocrat.com/general-news/20160217/berkeley-forum-seeks-ways-to-speed-construction-of-affordable-housing/2

Landlord Tax Could Fund Affordable Housing
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/24/city-council-approves-poll-to-residents-about-potential-ballot-measures/

Trying to Stop Berkeley Eviction Cases from Moving to Far-Away Court:
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/tenant-advocates-decry-court-move/Content?oid=4679640

Students Ask University to Step Up
The ASUC Student Housing Committee published this editorial in the Daily Californian calling for the University to produce more student housing and scrap plans for a private hotel on UC land in downtown Berkeley.
Despite plans to increase enrollment by at least 1,500 new students at UC Berkeley over the next few years, the campus only has plans to create 725 net new beds over the next five years; by contrast, the campus is increasing enrollment by 750 students next year alone… Furthermore, the university plans to build this project — and future projects — as a P3, or public-private partnership. As a P3, such a residence hall would be on university land but operated by a private company, a situation known as privatization. As a result, students would simultaneously lack the protections of local laws — such as rent control and eviction protections — while also paying more for rent to a private company.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/23/university-must-build-public-residence-hall-downtown/

Students Hold Rally
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/02/28/campus-students-rally-affordable-student-housing-friday/

Equity Residential Sells 1,800 Rent Controlled Units
Equity Residential, also Berkeley’s largest landlord, sold its units in East Palo Alto to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a foreign investment firm. Equity is also selling all of its units in Berkeley.
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/02/16/exclusive-east-palo-altos-woodland-park-apartments.html

Oakland: Short Term Rentals Tax to Support Affordable Housing
This from the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO):
“As the result of months of EBHO members’ advocacy and efforts, on February 2nd, Oakland City Council allocated $350,000/year of the Transient Occupancy Tax revenue from short-term rentals to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for each of the two years in the current budget cycle.
Allocating TOT revenue, which is the occupancy tax paid by hotels and other tourist accommodations, from these short-term accommodations to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will help mitigate the impact of the short-term rental industry as the City begins to explore policy solutions addressing this issue.  The TOT being allocated is from revenues the City receives over and above the $500,000/year allocated in the ’15-’17 budget, so it is not impacting other City priorities. As you read in EBHO’s report, The Impact of Short Term Rentals on Affordable Housing in Oakland, the City has an undisclosed contract with Airbnb to collect TOT.”

San Francisco: Fire Leads to Demolition, Evictions
San Francisco guarantees rent-controlled tenants who are displaced by a fire the right to return to their units after repair at their previous rent, though few do. But with the demolition, that protection no longer applies: New buildings are not subject to rent control because of state law and are not bound by the right of return. No-fault evictions on the basis of demolition are also allowed under city law. “
http://missionlocal.org/2016/02/sf-orders-demo-of-burned-mission-st-building-tenants-may-lose-right-to-return/

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Solutions to the Housing Emergency

Housing For the Rest of Us – Success!
HousingRest-2
On Sunday March 6th, about 200 Berkeley voters turned up to hear solutions to the housing emergency. The Berkeley Progressive Alliance discussed their housing platform and upcoming elections for Mayor and City Council. Berkeley Tenants Union discussed the Rent Board elections and the ballot measure to fund affordable housing via a windfall profits tax on larger landlords. Outgoing Councilman Max Anderson and District 3 candidate Ben Bartlett discussed changes and challenges in South Berkeley, and Zoning Commissioner Sophie Hahn – who is also running for City Council – discussed simple steps to bring sustainable, green buildings to Berkeley.

The Berkeley Progressive Alliance is bringing folks together to support candidates for City Council who share the ideals of economic and racial justice, campaign finance reform, and a green, sustainable city. Read their Affordable Housing Platform here:
http://berkeleyprogressivealliance.org/2016/02/26/affordable-housing-platform/

BTU co-sponsored the forum and discussed the April 24th Tenant Convention:
http://berkeleytenantsconvention.net/

BTU’s John Selawsky also discussed the Safe and Affordable Homes ballot measure:
http://www.fundaffordablehousing.org/

HousingRest-1

Max Anderson at the Forum
“Increasingly, wealth and income have become a surrogate for race, providing camouflage for those who want to reshape the city and invite only those who look like them and have the kind of wealth that they have,” contended Anderson, noting the decrease in African American residents from around 25 to approximately 8 percent of the Berkeley population. “What you’re participating in today is an effort to recapture and reassert the rights and realities we face as working people and people of color in this city,” he said, arguing that if people do nothing, “We will become a gated community without gates.”
http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29606700/berkeley-progressives-call-affordable-housing-new-leadership

BPA Platform to Fund New Affordable Units
In order to increase funding, the BPA suggested increasing the Housing Impact Fee — a sum that developers can pay as an alternative to including affordable housing units in their properties — to at least $34,000. Additionally, the plan intends to increase funds for the Housing Trust Fund through taxing short-term rentals, as well as raising the business license tax on influential landlords in Berkeley. “We want the people who have benefited from this incredible increase in property value to help pay for affordable housing,” said BPA member Kate Harrison at the meeting.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/03/06/berkeley-progressive-alliance-presents-affordable-housing-platform/

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Housing for the Rest of Us

Oxford Plaza, energy efficient affordable housing built in 2009 at a comfortable scale. Since 2009, almost no affordable housing has been built, for lack of committed funding for the Berkeley Housing Trust Fund

Since 2009 almost no affordable housing has been built. Oxford Plaza was the last major project.

There is a solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis

Berkeley could build at least 100 units of affordable housing a year, if we raise funds for the Housing Trust Fund. Hear about practical solutions that will raise the money needed. Prepare for the 2016 Election by making plans to elect a mayor, city council members, and rent board commissioners who will represent all of us, not just the 1%. Speakers include:

  • Max Anderson ‐ Berkeley City Councilmember District 3 (South Berkeley)
  • Ben Bartlett ‐ Berkeley Planning Commissioner and District 3 City Council candidate
  • Kate Harrison, Berkeley Progressive Alliance and Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club

BTU is proud to join Berkeley Citizens Action and the Better Berkeley Working Group in sponsoring this forum by Berkeley Progressive Alliance. 
Sunday, March 6th, 2 to 4:30 pm
South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street at Ashby

Read more on the event flier.

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Housing Issues at City Council

Although February 16th will be the Berkeley City Council’s special work session on Housing Policy, several issues are going to City Council on Tuesday February 9th as well.

The Relocation Ordinance was revised a few years ago to make sure that when renters are displaced because of substantial habitability issues, the property owner must help them afford a temporary relocation. When the law was revised, discussions centered on seismic retrofits, so the law contemplates mostly planned relocations for substantial rehabilitation of apartments.

However, there have been many large apartment buildings which have had fires in the last several years, and renters found accessing their rights to relocation funding to be challenging.

Now, the City Manager has brought revisions to the law to the City Council. That’s good news – 2/3rds of the amendments are common-sense clean-up issues.

However, there is one pesky change: Instead of requiring landlords to carry insurance which would fund the relocation payments Berkeley requires, the new law will require displaced tenants, many of whom have lost everything in a fire, to use their insurance money for relocation before they get funding from the owner.

BTU’s Letter to Council on Relocation: Relocation Ordinance Letter

Changes to the Demolition Ordinance are also on the agenda for the 9th, but BTU thinks our burdened City leaders will probably not have time to discuss this important issue at this meeting. We expect the issue to be held over. But just in case, we sent this to the Council regarding changes which would allow developers to tear down rent controlled units:

demolition-letter

City Council Relocation Ordinance Item #3: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Clerk/City_Council/2016/02_Feb/Documents/2016-02-09_Item_03_Amending_the_Relocation.aspx

City Council Demolition Ordinance Item #28: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Clerk/City_Council/2016/02_Feb/Documents/2016-02-09_Item_28_Zoning_Amendments.aspx

There are also several Affordable Housing Items from Kriss Worthington which have been held over at meeting after meeting since October of last year that may actually be discussed on Tuesday.
see: http://berkeleytenants.org/?p=1434

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News and Updates

Nifty Berkeley Video https://youtu.be/97bt87Xm4FU

Click the photo to play nifty Berkeley video (YouTube)

2016 Tenant Convention
Your tenants union has convened other progressive leaders to begin planning the 2016 convention to elected a pro-tenant slate for Rent Board. If you are interesting in running for election to the Board, or in helping to plan the annual gathering, drop us a line or keep an eye on the tenant convention webpage: http://berkeleytenantsconvention.net/

Developers Forum Shows Possible Bias from Zoning Commissioner
Housing policy wonks in Berkeley were all abuzz after a Berkeleyside article about a forum on development – because none of them heard about this forum until the article. The Urban Land Institute, one of those nonprofits that pays their top executives $300,000 – $400,000 a year, sponsored the forum. The institute’s website proudly displays their “corporate partners”: developers, real estate firms, and the banks that lend them money. One Zoning Commissioner was a presenter:
Cities also have a financial bias against housing; they prefer retail and office buildings that generate taxes, rather than housing that demands schools and services, she said. One of the biggest issues are the legal challenges to large projects, said Pinkston. Environmental reviews are used to delay development rather than to actually consider the impact of a project on a community, she said. Extra litigation adds to the cost of building housing, which pushes up rents, she said. Every time a housing project is delayed because of litigation, it contributes to climate change, said Pinkston.”
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/01/25/housing-forum-a-good-development-climate-in-berkeley/

Affordable Housing Worksession February 16
On December 1st the Berkeley City Council held a special session to discuss affordable housing, but ran out of time before having any substantial discussion. Their next session about affordable housing will be Tuesday, February 16th. They invited the Berkeley landlord political action committee, BRHA, to make a presentation in December, and while we never expected them to invite Berkeley Tenants, we are wondering why the Rent Board is not presenting at this session.
http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29194783/berkeley-studies-affordable-housing-options
see also
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2015-11-28/article/43948?headline=Recommendations-for-Special-Berkeley-City-Council-Work-Session-on-Affordable-Housing-December-1-2015–Rob-Wrenn

Kriss Worthington Helps Stop Eviction
Councilman Kriss Worthington said Monday that the CEO of The John Stewart Company, which manages the government-subsidized William Byron Rumford Sr. Plaza residential complex in South Berkeley, has agreed to drop eviction proceedings. In exchange, tenant Michael Pachovas must promise to file his annual recertification papers, along with some income and medical documentation.”
http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29464781/berkeley-deal-works-stave-off-eviction-disabled-senior

Artists Warehouse Shut Down By Oakland
The building was previously managed by Madison Park Financial, a real estate company owned by John Protopappas, a close friend of Mayor Libby Schaaf. Madison Park Financial withdrew from managing 1919 Market Street last year and was replaced by a company called 1919 Bayside, which is run by San Francisco real estate entrepreneur Danny Haber. …last year another company run by Haber, The Negev, was sued in San Francisco over alleged wrongful evictions to push out rent-controlled tenants and use their apartments for tech bunk houses.”
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2016/01/28/dozens-of-renters-lose-homes-as-city-closes-1919-market-street-warehouse-in-oakland

Residents Get 72 Hours to Move
Singer said the company will abide by all the laws in regards to tenants’ rights to return to the complex upon completion of the renovation and units will be priced at whatever market rate the law allows.”
http://www.ktvu.com/news/83415325-story

…And It’s Already for Lease?
http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/16491858/1919-Market-Street-Oakland-CA/

When Landlords Lie
“A landlord can continue to serve you with sixty-day notices, even if they’re bogus, take you trial, bleed you of money, and there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “We need to fix this system.”
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/oakland/when-landlords-lie/Content?oid=4665115

Alameda Landlord In the Hot Seat
Don Lindsey, who is one of Alameda’s most powerful landlords and is a leader among property owners strongly opposed to rent control on the Island, is under investigation by the California Bureau of Real Estate for alleged financial improprieties. A state investigator is accusing Lindsey of failing to provide proper accounting for various tenants’ fees”
http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2016/01/07/alamedas-landlord-in-chief-accused-of-wrongdoing

Everyone Really Wants Rent Control!
“Renter protections are being considered in three cities within days.”
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/01/23/18782155.php

By Which Time All the Poor People Will Be Gone?
The council members did approve setting up an advisory committee to hash out the landlord-tenant issues that brought this issue to the forefront. That committee will report back to City Council in one year.”
http://www.pacificatribune.com/news/city-votes-against-rent-control-plan/article_7e8b57ea-c9df-11e5-854c-df2627484ca4.htm

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Rent Report

Berkeley rents are up at least 50% in five years!

The Berkeley Rent Board gets quarterly reports on market rents for new tenancies in rent controlled apartments. Since rents are rising so quickly, they recently voted to send their latest reports to the City Council. Keep in mind, these are not controlled rents, nor are they inclusive of the whole market. Because of the 1996 state law Costa-Hawkins, owners can set a new rent at anything they want when a new tenant moves in. Those new rents are the numbers recorded in this report. Berkeley’s Housing Element report shows these rents tend to be lower than the total market rent in Berkeley because rent controlled buildings are older and don’t have fancy amenities like gyms or even WiFi.

report-2016

From the Rent Board Market Median Report January 2016

The whole report is here: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/uploadedFiles/Rent_Stabilization_Board/Level_3_-_General/6a6_16%20Jan%2019_Transmittal%20to%20Council_MedianRents_Q2%20to%20Q3_2015.pdf

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