Everybody Wants Rent Control Update

CL-aptsDespite the bad news from Richmond, folks all over the Bay, the State – even the World – are clamoring for an end to extreme profits and astronomical rent increases. The owners have kept us on the defensive for three decades — how many fronts can they fight on, even with all their money?


The CA Apartment Association – the landlord statewide group – applied all their massive resources to suspend the new Richmond laws, the first new rent control in California in 30 years. Berkeley Property Owners Association put out a “Red Alert” just days before the law was to go into effect, asking Berkeley landlords to support this effort, which reportedly paid gathers over $20 per signature.


Efforts in San Mateo to create just cause eviction protections for renters have also been stalled through efforts from the California Apartment Association.
“Dozens of property owners, real estate agents and representatives from trade associations spoke in opposition noting there are already existing laws governing tenant-landlord contracts. Many noted it can be very difficult to evict a bad tenant — one told an anecdote of it costing nearly $8,000 in legal fees — and requested the city focus on constructing new housing units. Others also feared there would be unintended consequences of such an ordinance, including harming good tenants.”
“Additionally, the CAA is urging it’s members to appear and bring other members from the rental housing industry to the council meeting/s to oppose renter protections. This is the same thing they do when other cities in California consider renter protections…. Painting the working class as possible criminals in the effort to conceal their real activities, such as raking in billions of dollars hand over fist, the CAA knows how to stir up wealthy property owners and the rental housing industry, when humane solutions such as renter protections are being proposed.”


Alameda is the only place I know of with a rent board but no rent control. City officials are discussing changing some of the rent regulations, but tenants are discussing a ballot measure to get some real protections!


Nine of the eleven City Council members voted to “look into” just cause eviction protections, expanding rent control to cover duplexes, eliminating rules that new owners can pass their mortgage costs on to renters, and lowering the annual rent increase from the current eight percent. Berkeley tenants already enjoy these protections.
San Jose’s rent control only covers about 43,000 units built before 1979 and excludes duplexes. Housing built after 1995 is exempt from rent control under the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, so that leaves apartments built from 1979 to 1995 and all duplexes with no protections.”
Approval of the staff report and work plan would create a timeline where the Council would consider potential changes to the ARO (apartment-rent ordinance) in December 2015.


Tenants in Silicon Valley march for rent control – three times!
“Most of the affected residents make $12-$18 per hour, far below what it takes to afford local rents that have in some cases doubled over the past few years.”
Mountain View Tenants Coalition


Council members who opposed rent control said the city just needs to build more housing. All over the world, landlords and developers – often the same people – claim that allowing unbridled development will lower rents. Sound familiar, Berkeley?
“We spent $800,000 on a fish fountain. We can spend some money to help renters in Santa Rosa.”


Owners in Healdsburg pledged to limit rent increases to “only” 10 percent in order to stop the city from discussing rent control.
“It’s nonbinding. It’s pointless,” said Christine Webster, a disabled woman facing a 65 percent increase in rent for the one-bedroom duplex close to downtown that she’s lived in for the past decade.”


Santa Monica is the California city with a tenant protection ordinance most like Berkeley’s own. Ellis Act evictions are on the rise in Berkeley, with landlord advocate Michael St. John actively encouraging them in a recent BPOA newsletter, but in Santa Monica, there are so many that the City Council is discussing a moratorium.


Seattle City Council is discussing asking the state of Washington to end the state ban on rent control. Washington is one of at least 30 states in the US which do not allow any municipalities to create rent control laws.


Burlington citizens debate rent control, supply-and-demand, in the press.
“Of course, as long as the city is run by developers and landlords, rent control will not even be discussed.”


Jersey City tenants call for changes to preserve their rent control.
“Real estate investors… are aggressively using the vacancy capital improvement provision in Chapter 260 of the rent control ordnance to increase the rent of vacated apartments by over 30 percent.”


Tenants Together has been warning about the securitization of rents here in California, but Singapore is way ahead of us, with leaders not only calling for rent control but also a limit to land holdings by REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts).


Scotland had rent control until the Thatcher years; leaders are preparing to introduce laws which would allow rent regulation in places where the rents are rising most rapidly.
“Rent controls enjoy broad popular support, with a Survation poll conducted in January this year finding that only 6.8 per cent of the public are “somewhat” or “strongly” against the controls. 59 per cent of those polls said they somewhat or strongly supported the state being able to control what landlords take from tenants each month.”


Berlin got rent control on June 1st. Rents dropped immediately.
“The average cost of new Berlin rental contracts has dropped 3.1 percent within a month. This can’t be written off as an example of a general countrywide downward trend. In other German cities where such laws haven’t yet been introduced, rents have remained more or less static.”

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Richmond Rent Control Suspended

The California Apartment Association, supported by the Berkeley Property Owners Association, has put a stop to rent control in Richmond, the first California city to invoke such protections for renters in three decades. The law was supposed to go into effect September 4th.

Alameda County has 30 days to verify the 7000 signatures on a petition submitted by property owners. Then, the Richmond City Council must repeal the ordinance or place it on the ballot for November 2016 (or call a special election).

Contra Costa Times:
“Measure supporters have criticized the signature-gathering effort as misleading, with allegations of petition gatherers who told residents they were signing in support of the measure. The company, Pacific Petition, also allegedly paid up to $20 per signature in the run-up to the deadline to collect the needed 4,100 signatures.”

East Bay Express:
“Residents said signature gatherers lied to people by telling them that the petition made rent control stronger, or kept rents from increasing, according to testimony from renters and media reports.”

Richmond Law:

30 Years Wasn’t Enough?:
No economic analysis on the impacts of rent control was ever done. This will give everybody more time to look at the short- and long-term implications.”

Get Involved In Richmond:

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Berkeley Rent Board Wins In Court

IMG_1151The Berkeley Rent Board won an important case regarding eviction threats and OMI evictions where the owner never moved in. The California Court of Appeal supported the Berkeley regulation that resets rent for new tenants at the lower controlled rent if the previous tenant moved within a year of getting an Owner Move-In notice.

In this case, a tenant who rented at 1807 Addison for 28 years and had refused informal requests to move finally got a formal eviction notice, so she made a deal, got some money, and moved. Then the owner rescinded the OMI notice. The tenants who moved in challenged their rent – which was more than double the old rent – under regulation 1016.

The regulation addresses withdrawn eviction notices for owner occupancy and states, “…if the tenant vacates within one year of the date of service of the notice, the tenancy is presumed to have been terminated by the owner as a result of the notice. The rental rate for the next tenancy established in the vacated unit shall be no more than the maximum allowed under the Rent Ordinance for the tenant who vacated.”

The Rent Board called the court decision a “victory for local control at a time when gentrification purges valued members of our community.” The Court referred to the landlord Jason Mak’s gambit as “subterfuge.”

Rent Board Press Release:
“The court ruled that when a landlord uses an eviction notice as “negotiating leverage” to secure an agreement that the tenant would “voluntarily vacate” the unit, the tenant did not actually vacate voluntarily.”
Mak press release (9-8-15)

Court Decision:
“The finding that the tenancy was terminated pursuant to the termination notice can hardly be questioned, notwithstanding the attempt to mischaracterize the situation in the agreement that Burns agreed to sign. Maintaining the rent level of the former tenant is a rational and proportional deterrent to the use of such an artifice in the future.
Mak Omi decision reg 1016

In the Papers:

Tenants In the News

Several of these stories were sent in by BTU members:


Berkeley Owners Claim Elected Officials Don’t Represent Their Interests

Development: BARF Invited, Berkeley Tenants Not


Removal of Units From Housing Market
The Housing Balance Report shows the city added 6,559 affordable housing units between 2004 and 2014. But during the same period, 5,470 apartments were “removed from protected status” through a variety of “no fault” evictions allowed by state law.


Vacation Rentals Struggle Continues in SF
Tired of relying on their Supervisors – who crafted a law that city staff explained was unenforceable, then weakened that law a few months later – tenants and hotel workers in SF have joined forces to write a ballot measure.

Chronicle does Five-part Series on Impact of Short Term Rentals


El Cerrito: Low Income Renters Displaced at RV Park

Healdsburg Continues Ban on Airbnb
And why isn’t this a no-brainer for Berkeley’s Planning Commission too?
The City Council took little time Monday evening in unanimously upholding a ban on vacation rentals in residential areas, mainly in an effort to preserve the city’s housing for residents and workers — not visitors. “Anything that takes away from potential long-term rental stock is a non-starter,” said Mayor Shaun McCaffery, noting that the lack of affordable housing has risen to the top of the civic agenda with a recent wave of escalating rents and evictions of low-income tenants.”

Sacramento Looking into Vacation Rentals
Sacramento is considering allowing landlords to rent out homes or rooms up to 30 days a year.”

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Low-Income Housing Opportunities

Berkeley’s Below Market Rate rentals program needs a lot of tweaks, but BTU is excited to share the city’s announcement that 20 newly-constructed units are opening for applications. A building on San Pablo in South Berkeley is accepting applications for 15 units this week, with three more units opening in September on MLK and Dwight and another four offered on University Avenue near 4th Street.

Apartment owners handle applications themselves, although BTU and Councilman Arreguin have called for a city-wide waitlist for the future. A studio at the Higby on San Pablo will rent for $2200 at market – but a one bedroom will rent for $1,345 to renters who make less than $59,520 a year. Tenants who meet the income limits are encouraged to apply to all three projects, and share info with BTU about how the process really works.

Here is a sample chart with rents and income limits, although some units also are being offered to renters at lower income levels than these.

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 2.51.38 PM

The first deadline is Monday, August 10!

Follow this link for details: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=110963

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Richmond (Almost) Gets Rent Control


“The ordinance, first voted on in July, has undergone several changes and required two readings before becoming law. It takes effect Sept. 4 but will base rents at their July 21 levels to prevent landlords from spiking prices. … Under the new law, landlords will only be able to increase rents by 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index, roughly 2 percent a year, and pass on 40 percent of the city-imposed fee to tenants. The fee is estimated to range between $170 and $230 a year per unit, or $14-$19 a month.
The ordinance applies to about 10,000 units in the city and excludes all housing built after Feb. 1, 1995, single-family homes, condominiums and units used for child and residential social services provided on a nonprofit basis. It also includes a just-cause for eviction ordinance that covers all rental units in the city and prevents residents from being evicted without a reason.”

The Contra-Costa times did an in-depth article about Richmond’s situation. Sadly, they have a lot of quotes from opponents of rent control and little from organizers in Richmond. BTU wasn’t contacted, even though this article highlights Berkeley’s strict rent control system, which many had hoped Richmond would use as a model.

Previous article: Richmond passed rent control and eviction laws in July, but the proposal failed to pass the required second reading this week.

With the new law, Richmond would become the first city in Contra Costa County to restrict rents. The program would be funded by a $370 per unit fee, much higher than the fee Berkeley landlords plan to challenge in court. However, some of the fee may be passed to Richmond renters.

Like Berkeley, Richmond plans to register and track rents. Richmond’s proposed law exempts tenancies assisted by the Housing Authority, including Section 8 rentals, as well as single family homes and post-1995 buildings, as required by state law.

“Proponents note that Richmond’s black population fell 35 percent from 2000 to 2013. The median rent rose 13 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, according to UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.”

“Rent increases will be pegged to 100 percent of the Consumer Price Index for the region, or roughly 2.3 percent a year.”

“The rent control ordinance, set to take effect on Dec. 1, applies to about 9,900 units out of almost 34,000 total rental units, according to City Manager Bill Lindsay. About half of the city’s housing stock is rental.”

“In a new twist, landlords will now be able to pass 40 percent of the associated fees on to their tenants. The fees would vary from $170 to $230 per unit per year, or $15 to $20 a month.”

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BTU Members Meeting

IMG_shirtBerkeley Tenants Union will hold our quarterly member potluck on Wednesday July 8th. There will be free tenant counseling from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, updates on demolitions and short term rentals regulations, and a roundtable discussion about enforcement of safety and habitability concerns for tenants.

Demolition Decision Sets Bad Precedents

Learn more about what happened at the Zoning Board at our quarterly member potluck on July 8th.

ZAB Grants Demolition…
“Some speakers at the meeting were concerned that the owner of the building deliberately worsened its condition in order to get approval for its demolition. John Selawsky, a substitute for Sophie Hahn and the only ZAB member to vote no on the use permit, said the building showed signs of deliberate neglect. Cliff Orloff, managing partner of developer OPHCA LLC, agreed to let the Berkeley Fire Department conduct training exercises in the building in 2014.”

Despite Strong Public Protest
“Earlier this week, in an email regarding the project, a UC Berkeley student who said she used to live at 2631 Durant said tenants had been required by the owner to move out by a certain date, and that conditions had been poor.“When I was signing my lease I was told that I was signing under the condition that I would move out on May 31, 2014. We were told that the building was going to be torn down and developed,” wrote Nicole Yeghiazarian.
“The building was kept in awful shape because they did not want us to stay. When I moved into my apartment, there was mold. The kitchen was filthy with food stains around the stove.… Other tenants I talked to had similar complaints of conditions inside and outside of their units being dilapidated. It really felt like they were doing the bare minimum to not be sued, but wanted to make our conditions unpleasant enough that we would move out.” Added local resident Tree Fitzpatrick, in an email to the zoning board, “To grant this project as requested is to condone demolition by neglect.”

Short Term Rentals

We have heard that legal service providers like the East Bay Community Law Center are seeing more attempted evictions for renters who sublet for the short term on services like Airbnb. Currently, the Berkeley proposal to legalize such rentals may allow renters to sublet this way as long as the place is their home. But that doesn’t mean doing so won’t be a violation of their lease – it depends on the agreement. Renters should read the fine print, and remember the Rent Ordinance prohibits charging more than a prorated portion of the controlled rent.
Below is the document some folks currently violating Berkeley’s ban on such rentals are presenting to the Planning Commission, who will hold a hearing soon regarding the potential new laws and taxes in Berkeley.
We have just a few corrections: Regulations are not “being passed” – the current prohibition is being lifted for some users. Therefore, the number of short term rentals will not be “cut,” and no law-abiding citizens will see their “livelihood” impacted. These new regulations will not reduce any legal income, they will only legalize a currently illegal activity for some but not all users. It’s like saying the pot dealer on the corner is going to be put out of business by the legalization of medical marijuana!
2015-07-01_Communications_Berkeley Home Sharers_Recommendation on Revisions

Landlords Favor Allowing Hotels Anywhere, Unless Run By A Renter
Sid Lakireddy, president of the Berkeley Property Owners Association, said he doesn’t think the use of Airbnb among tenants is widespread. Lakireddy believes that property owners should be allowed to use Airbnb, but not tenants.
“It’s a lot of work for a property owner to do Airbnb, and if they feel like they can make more doing it, I don’t think we should stop them,” he said. “If a tenant is doing it, that’s wrong because they’re using somebody else’s property to make a profit.”

Council Passes Referral Designed to Protect Rental Housing Stock
“The proposal, introduced by Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmember Lori Droste, would legalize rentals not exceeding 14 consecutive days and would tax hosts in the same way as hotels. Under the proposed regulations, the property must be occupied by the owner or tenant for at least nine months of the year and can be rented out no more than 90 days if the host is not present.”

San Francisco Hires 6 to Crack Down on Illegal Hotels

Paris Neighborhood Had More Airbnb Guests Than Actual Residents
During summer 2014, 66,320 people stayed on Airbnb in the neighborhood’s two arrondissements, slightly more than the 64,795 who actually live in them, according to 2012 figures. The popularity of tourist rentals also made it a target of French housing inspectors. In May, inspectors made surprise early-morning inspections that turned up roughly 100 potentially illegal apartments.”

Balcony Collapse Highlights Problems with Code Enforcement

Code enforcement complaints and missing inspection forms at Library Gardens highlight the need to revamp Berkeley’s Rental Housing Safety Program. Currently, the program is a little meaningless. Landlords have to pay a fee and do inspections each year, but they don’t have to turn in the forms to the City. Issues about inspections and habitability will be the topic of a BTU member roundtable at our quarterly meeting on July 8th.

Missing Inspection Forms at Library Gardens
Prior to July 1st, city officials say Greystar provided the wrong inspection records, failing to use the form required by the city. In a letter to Greystar, the city noted that the self-inspections were also missing required signatures and dates.”

Mayor Says New Housing Is Safe
“Berkeley code enforcement inspectors might not have been previously aware of Library Gardens’ failure to perform safety inspections. Those records are not required to be filed with the city unless a code inspector asks for them. Bates said it was unreasonable to mandate increased city inspection of rentals, given the city’s budget, but believed newer apartment buildings are not apt to present many hazards”.

Balcony Collapse Spotlights Dry Rot
Yes, but when will they realize we need to inspect more than just balconies?
“In Berkeley, officials recognized this gap in oversight and a week after the balcony disaster called for a mandate on building owners to inspect balcony supports at least once every five years. State officials are considering whether the balcony collapse demands a broader fix.”

Criminal Investigation
“As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the investigation will likely focus on Segue Construction Inc. — the company responsible for constructing the building — and on R. Brothers Inc., the company responsible for waterproofing the balcony’s wooden support beams. Several lawsuits throughout the Bay Area involving allegations of water penetration due to faulty waterproofing have been filed against Segue in the past.”

From Other BTU Members:

Supreme Court on Fair Housing
From a BTU Member: I think that the Court’s decision on the Fair Housing Act is more important, insofar as it established the “disparate treatment” standard.  This is a significant victory for tenants and housing rights advocates.  It will now be much harder to defend discrimination and segregation in housing and other areas on the basis that it was not intentional.

And In Other News:

Demolitions, Ellis Act Plague Los Angeles Renters

Cal Student Plagued by Pests

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Berkeley Mayor Advised Big Landlords to Form PAC

A special edition of the Berkeley Property Owners Association newsletter came out in early July, announcing their plans to spend at least half a million dollars each year to fund the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition. Their announcement begins:
“Since the beginning of permanent rent control thirty-five years ago, knowledgeable people have often suggested that Berkeley property owners should establish a legal defense fund and /or a political action committee.”

Apparently, our Mayor, Tom Bates, is one of those people!

In his speech, Bates also called for an end to the elected Rent Board in Berkeley. In recent press articles, the landlords have said the Board is “answerable to no one” – BTU thinks the Board is answerable to the voters, since they are elected.

From the Contra Costa Times: “Introduced by BPOA President Sid Lakireddy as a friend and supporter of the organization, Bates talks about his early days as a real estate salesman, manager and developer, observing wistfully that a former partner later became a billionaire… He touts the Downtown Area Plan; mocks the sponsors of a move to modify it last year; proposes a downtown office building to entice startup companies to stay in Berkeley; and suggests it might be time to bring the Rent Stabilization Board and the Berkeley Housing Authority under direct city control.
Late in the video, Bates sounds a warning: “You need to organize yourselves,” he says. “You need to think about the possibility of forming a PAC … because you’re going to be under attack.”

Landlords Plan to Sue Rent Board
“It depends on the money they have. They can run candidates,” UC Berkeley assistant adjunct professor public policy Larry Rosenthal said about the new coalition’s potential influence. “A group of landlords that are organized well will have substantial influence.”

People Power Can Beat Money Every Time!
Get Involved! Come to the Potluck July 8th!

Berkeley Still Has It Better
“…In Oakland, when a landlord unlawfully raises rents throughout an entire building, the burden falls to each tenant to write a formal petition and present his or her case in a hearing. As a result, many 1565 Madison residents — who chose not to file petitions or missed a hearing, in some cases because they didn’t have the resources to complete paperwork or because they feared retaliation — have to pay the entire rent increase, even though the city deemed a portion of it illegal.”

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Zoning Board to discuss demolition of large, rent-controlled building Thursday June 25

This 18-unit OCCUPIED building on Durant has applied for a demolition permit.

This 18-unit building on Durant has applied for a demolition permit.

The proposed demolition at 2631 Durant includes 18 rent controlled units which have traditionally been 100% occupied by students and were occupied until May 2014. This is the building next door to the Art Museum and across from the dorms near College on Durant.

One of the most sensational aspects of this application is that developer Cliff Orloff claims he cannot get a fair rate of return because of the costs if he rehabilitates the existing building – but Orloff invited the Berkeley Fire Department to conduct trainings in his building, and when they were done there were holes in the roof and very few interior walls, according to a Building Inspector report that is part of the City record.

The other extremely disturbing aspect of tonight’s hearing is public perception that the process may have been manipulated:

1) City packed the Zoning agenda with two controversial issues – demolition of 2631 Durant and the EIR for 2211 Harold Way, the first downtown high-rise. This will limit discussion time for both projects.

2) City scheduled a different public meeting at virtually the same time on another aspect of Harold Way. Many BTU members want to speak at both meetings but cannot endure 4 or more hours of meetings just to have their one or two minutes to comment at each.

3) CITY STAFF SENT AT LEAST ONE LETTER FROM A CONCERNED CITIZEN TO THE DEVELOPER well before this correspondence was available to the public or even to ZAB Commissioners. (see Supplemental Communications Page 5) Having communications before the rest of the public seems to give the developer more time to refute or refine arguments than the time any other member of the public would have to comment on correspondence.

4) This building was 100% student occupied but the hearing is scheduled when students are away – see the letter from ASUC External Affairs linked below.

BTU is asking folks to come tonight, hold signs, and speak against demolition of rent controlled units as well as in favor of increased affordable housing requirements from downtown high-rise builders.

BTU Letter to ZAB About Durant


Communication from the Public Forwarded to Developer, Page 5

Link to All City Documents Regarding this Application:

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Landlords Pledge Half a Million Each Year to Fight Berkeley Rent Board

St. John
Leaders of the Berkeley Property Owners Association – including owners of Premium Properties, Shaw Properties, Everest, real estate agent Jon Vicars, legal advocate Michael St. John, and the notorious Lakireddy family – have formed a new political coalition. Is their primary purpose to run candidates for the Rent Board? No. Is it to bring lawsuits like the 2012 libel cases, to scare tenants away from running for election? No. We fully expect them to do those things as well, but the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition is landlords pooling their money mostly to sue the Rent Board over a $19 increase in the registration fee. It was the first increase of the fee, which funds the Rent Board agency, in six years.

“…She was more concerned that lawsuits funded with PAC money could divert the board from its mission. ‘I think (the landlord’s) interest may be more in the board spending time and money to defend it, thus taking away from our core services.’ ”

CA Supreme Court Upholds San Jose Requirements for Developers – But Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Will Not Apply To Rentals!

The state Supreme Court upheld the right of a city to impose affordable housing requirements on developers of for-sale housing, but let stand the 2009 Palmer decision, which said cities cannot limit the rent a developer can charge for newly built rental units because of the state Costa-Hawkins law. The decision also made it clear that a nexus study is not required because cities do not have to prove that the demand for affordable housing was created by the development of new buildings.

The ruling will impact over 170 local governments with similar inclusionary housing requirements and allow Berkeley to move forward with inclusionary laws. It’s good news for anyone who might scrape it together to buy some “affordable” housing, but bad news for folks who are pretty sure they will be renters for the rest of their lives. The decision again shows the need for tenants to come together statewide to change the Costa-Hawkins law.

“The Court noted that many land use regulations result in a reduction in the market value that a property may command in the absence of regulations and this does not constitute a taking of the diminished value of the property. In this regard, the Court reasoned that the affordable housing requirement was no different than limitations on density, unit size, number of bedrooms, required set-backs, or building heights.”

California Building Industry Association v. San Jose Decision
CA Building Trades Vs San Jose final

Berkeley Student Paper Discusses Inclusionary Case

For More Info on Costa-Hawkins:
“The Costa-Hawkins Act is not only contributing to soaring rent prices, but it’s also creating barriers to new housing construction.”

Another Tenant Screwed By Costa-Hawkins

Berkeley Tenants send huge hugs to the families of all the young people lost or hurt at Library Gardens.

Faulty Construction Likely Cause of Balcony Collapse
“The horrible structural failure of a 5th floor balcony that killed six and injured seven…has brought to the forefront the issue of safety in the frantic construction of apartment buildings mushrooming the city.”

Deadly Balcony Collapse Tied to Rotted Wooden Beams

A History Of Housing Safety Complaints
“The apartment complex’s housing code violations included holes in walls, trip hazards from damaged floors, loose metal strips in doorways, inoperable ceiling fans in laundry rooms and missing or inoperable exit signs throughout the building. The majority of violations were found during a random September 2013 city inspection of several low-income and affordable housing units in the complex.”

Berkeleyside Report On Builder Track Record
“As it turns out, however, there was also a $3.5 million settlement in 2013 in Millbrae related to waterproofing and wood rot. And, that same year, Trestle Glen Associates, in Colma, filed a breach of contract lawsuit, still underway, against Segue related to ‘water intrusion causing tangible property damage.’ ”

Builder Under Scrutiny BEFORE Balcony Collapse
“The building has been the subject of numerous complaints, both through the city and online. The most recent official complaint, submitted in February to the Berkeley Rent Board, listed missing or broken stairwell lights, missing handrails on stairwells, holes in the walls of public spaces, expired fire extinguishers, and peeling floor material that posed a tripping hazard.”

Protest Calls For Investigation, Halt for New Construction
A group of concerned citizens has called for a moratorium on new building construction in Berkeley until the tragedy at Library Gardens can be analyzed. The Berkeley Daily Planet posted an editorial with a similar suggestion.

Protesters’ Letter to Council Linked Here

Daily Planet Suggests Pause for Building Approvals

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Upcoming and Updates

IMG_0926-1Landlords Form PAC
The Berkeley Property Owners Association announced this week that they are forming a political action committee. “While the Rent Board uses our money to undermine our rights, the BRHC will use its funds to fight for our rights, bringing balance to matters that have been far out of balance for far too long.” The founding landlords pledge to spend at least $500,000 a year to fight against renters rights in Berkeley.

Short-Term Rentals (AirBnB) Discussion Continues June 23


Students Call for Tight Limits on Vacation Rentals
“Research has shown that short-term and vacation rentals increase the costs of housing by reducing the supply of affordable housing available on the market…. If City Council decides to legalize short-term and vacation rentals, such as those found on Airbnb, then it must adequately regulate them in order to protect the city’s supply of affordable housing. The proposal put forward by Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmember Lori Droste, while a good start, would fail to adequately regulate short-term and vacation rentals so that they do not reduce the supply of affordable housing in Berkeley.”

Pro-Development, Pro-AirBnb “Renters” Group Gets YELP Donation.
“I believe Sonja represents a massive segment of the population that’s been largely ignored in the discussion on Bay Area housing – renters,” said Stoppelman.”

Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday July 8 – BTU Member’s Meeting and Summer Potluck

Tuesday June 23, 7 PM – Short Term Rentals continues
Thursday June 25 5 PM – Community Benefits from Downtown High-rise Buildings
Tuesday June 30
Tuesday July 14
Tuesday September 15

Thursday 6/11 at 7:00 PM
Thursday 6/25 at 7:00 PM – Demolition of 18-Unit Rent Controlled Building
Thursday 7/09 at 7:00 PM
Thursday 7/23 at 7:00 PM
Thursday 8/27 at 7:00 PM

Wednesday June 17
Wednesday July 1
Wednesday July 15 – possibly Short Term Rentals
Wednesday September 2

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