Berkeley Housing Policy Update

Measure U1 Debate Continued
The Berkeley City Council carried items about spending Measure U1 money to their July 25 meeting. See Items 48, 50 and 51 on that agenda.
http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Clerk/City_Council/City_Council__Agenda_Index.aspx

The State of Berkeley
Mayor Jesse Arreguin is a renter who rose to prominence as strong voice for tenants when he chaired Berkeley’s Rent Board and while he represented the downtown area on City Council. His first State of the City address highlighted his dedication to affordable housing and antidisplacement.

He said the city needs to fight the ravages of gentrification, strengthen defenses against eviction of tenants, work to eliminate the state Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, and do more to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.”
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/07/11/mayors-address-cites-berkeleys-disparities-role-in-national-politics/

“Arreguín said he is also proud of the $650,000 included in the new city budget for eviction defense and housing subsidies — and of the plan to build affordable and permanent supportive housing, along with more shelter beds and transitional units for veterans, at Berkeley Way. The council voted unanimously to prioritize that ambitious plan in June, though its success depends on securing more funding for the $90 million project.”
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/07/11/mayor-jesse-arreguin-pledges-re-earn-berkeleys-progressive-reputation-city-address/

BCA Progressive Town Hall Sunday July 15
Progressive Town Meeting with many City Council members – sponsored by our good friends at Berkeley Citizens Action: Sunday July 16, 3-5pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis Street.

Berkeley Rent Control – in 1942!
Bay Area housing rent control went into effect July 1, 1942, and the first day of required registration was July 15. Anyone who rented an apartment, house, or room had to register and list the rents. “No landlord may now charge a rent higher than that prevailing on March 1, 1942”, the Gazette noted on July 15. “Any tenant who for personal reasons, privately agrees to pay more than the legal rate is equally guilty of evading the law.” Six stations had been set up to receive registration forms.
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/07/10/berkeley-a-look-back-wartime-introduces-city-to-rent-control/

On Student Housing
“The old dorms, forced by state policy to be financially self-sustaining, are already insanely expensive. And now, with UC Berkeley pitching itself to wealthy out-of-state students who pay high fees , with an emphasis on the privileged offspring of well-off foreigners, even pricier alternatives are on offer, under the rubric of “Affiliated Properties.” What does this mean? If you click under this heading on the UC Housing website, you see these three buildings: Garden Village Apartments; New Sequoia Apartments; Panoramic Residences. The first two were originally permitted by the city of Berkeley as tax-paying private rental development, the kind marketed as “luxury apartments. Presumably the third, developed in San Francisco by Patrick Kennedy, who made his original fortune in Berkeley, is in the same category. Now, however, they seem to have been subsumed into UCB’s housing schemes. Are they consequently off the tax rolls?”
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2017-07-07/article/45868?headline=UC-expansion-engulfs-Berkeley–Becky-O-Malley

Op Ed on Berkeley Development Policies
“It is not true that asking developers to pay higher fees will kill their incentive to build. Just look at all the cranes out there.”
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/06/13/opinion-berkeley-needs-new-housing-policy-works-many-not-just/

New York Times on Berkeley Housing Crisis
The New York paper interviewed Mayor Arreguin.
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/us/california-today-the-housing-crisis-hits-berkeley.html

Mother Jones Mocks Berkeley Housing Policies
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/06/climate-change-housing-berkeley/

In Other Places 

San Mateo County Study on Displacement
If you know me, you know I love data. Data from this new study of evictions and displacement in San Mateo County could help Berkeley leaders make the case for more funding for enforcement of eviction protections and rental assistance as a means of homelessness prevention.
“The surveys found that of the people who reported being displaced in the last two years, one in three had experienced homelessness or marginal housing (defined as living in a motel or hotel, renting a garage, or “couch-surfing”); only one in five was able to find a new place to live within a mile of their former residence; and one in three left the county. Several reported that their families had to split up to find housing.”

The study also shows the environmental impacts of the housing emergency.
”Those who did leave the county saw their one-way commute time increase by an average of 47 minutes and commute cost rise by $390 a month for the main household earner.”
https://almanacnews.com/news/2017/06/22/study-displaced-residents-face-many-other-adverse-effects

 

UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies Displacement Report
http://www.urbandisplacement.org/sites/default/files/images/impacts_of_displacement_in_san_mateo_county.pdf

 

Oakland Wants Berkeley’s Protections
Jonah Strauss of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition said that the referral of the owner move-in exemption to the rent board is a good move. He said Oakland should adopt strong rules like those in Berkeley, and that if a landlord does carry out an owner move-in eviction they should be required to pay a “substantial” amount to help their tenants relocate.”
https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2017/07/11/oakland-looks-to-close-owner-move-in-and-occupancy-loopholes-reduce-evictions-and-harmful-rent-increases

Fremont Wants Rent Control
“The tenants are really in an unleveraged position,” Bonaccorsi said. “They don’t have equal bargaining power. There is a lot of fear, there is a lot of anxiety, there is a lot of stress, there’s a lot of families that have been displaced.”
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/07/12/fremont-isnt-ready-for-rent-control-council-decides/

San Francisco Wants Vacancy Tax
https://sf.curbed.com/2017/7/12/15961486/sf-tax-landlord-homes-apartments-vacant 

Los Angeles Short Term Rentals Debate
https://patch.com/california/studiocity/airbnb-supporters-flood-city-hall-fight-limits-rentals

Airbnb to Collect Taxes for Puerto Rico
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-06-22/airbnb-to-collect-room-tax-in-puerto-rico-for-government

Airbnb Still Fighting Paris 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbnb-hotels-reaction-idUSKBN19R2TT

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