ACTION: Statewide Ellis Reform
The Berkeley Rent Board agenda for Monday March 17 contains a report on landlord and tenant bills at the state legislature. BTU is asking the Board to take action to support and broaden the two bills to reform the Ellis Act, a law that allows speculators to buy an apartment building and immediately get rid of all the tenants. We hope the Board will ask Nancy Skinner and Loni Hancock to persuade San Francisco’s Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno to change their bills so they could apply in Berkeley if use of the Ellis act rises dramatically here.
Santa Monica’s Rent Board, and then Santa Monica’s City Council, have taken a similar position, stating that they are hopeful that any Ellis reform will allow all jurisdictions with rent control to be given a chance to opt in.
Santa Monica Rent Board Annual Report: “…entering 2013, there are signs that the economy may be improving—foreclosures are down in California along with unemployment—and there is a sense in the state that our economy may finally be headed in the right direction. Along with that recovery is the likelihood of increased Ellis activity, bringing with it the inevitable loss of accessible, competitive, controlled housing.”
The Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board meets Monday at 7 PM — 2134 Martin Luther King. The report on housing legislation and discussion on Ellis reform are early on their agenda.
Berkeley Rent Board Legislative Report, Item 5 http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/Rent_Stabilization_Board/Home/Agenda__RSB_2014_Mar_17.aspx
Also on the Agenda, Banks as Landlords, Item 7(a)8 and Wall Street Securitizing Rents 7(a)11
Ellis Reform from the San Francisco Appeal: “Speculators are buying properties and posing as new landlords, then evicting the tenants within a matter of months to “flip” the building and convert it into a high-cost home or luxury condominiums, the senator said.”
Ellis Reform from 48 Hills Blog: “The presence of the mayor and the tech industry is just the latest indication of how serious the eviction crisis has become – and how much of a force the tenant movement has become in local politics. When you get a crowd like this for an anti-eviction bill, it’s clear that 2014 is, indeed, the Year of the Tenant in San Francisco.”
San Francisco To Raise Ellis Relocation Benefits?
“The Campos legislation will pay tenants 2 years’ worth of the “rent differential” between their current rent and the market rent they will have to pay. For example, if a tenants being evicted is paying $1,500 a month in rent and the current market rent for a similar apartment is $3,000, they will received $72,000 in relocation benefits (the $1,500 difference their current rent and the new rent, times 48)”– according to Eviction Free SF. Berkeley’s Ellis relocation benefits are currently between $8,700 and $16,200 per household, San Francisco has a $15,632.69 maximum, and Santa Monica and West Hollywood base their benefits on the size of the unit, with relocation payments of up to $17,000 (West Hollywood) and $19,000 (Santa Monica.)
Student Perspectives on Housing
This week was UC Berkeley’s annual Tenants Rights Week, so BTU tabled on campus alongside Renters Legal Assistance and other services. The Daily Californian has their annual housing special issue, with articles discussing gentrification, types of housing in Berkeley, vacancy decontrol and landlord profits, and the role of the Rent Board.
Tuesday Exchange on Berkeley’s Downtown
There are 1,400 units of rental housing in development for the Downtown area, and none of it will be rent controlled. Unfortunately, this talk will happen while you are at work.
“The Berkeley Historical Society asked LWVBAE to partner with them in an exploration of how development activities may potentially impact the cultural and physical characteristics of the Downtown area. Panelists, including Michael Caplan, Lisa Stephens and Jim Novosel, will open a discussion on this important topic, which will be followed by a question-and-answer period. The talk will be moderated by Steven Finacom and introduced by Sherry Smith.”
Conversation about the Downtown Development Plan
Tuesday, March 18 :: Noon to 1:30 pm
Berkeley History Center, 1931 Center Street
Admission free. Donations welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Oakland City Council To Review Capital Improvement Rent Increases Tuesday
“A staff recommendation this week calls for the number of years landlords can amortize capital improvement costs to be extended from 5 years to 20 and caps the rent increase at 10 percent. In addition, landlords would be asked to petition the city for rent increases. Currently, the only way for the city to track rent increases triggered by capital improvement projects is only when renters issue a complaint. Most tenants, however, may be unaware of their rights regarding the complaint system, says Oakland tenants’ rights advocate James Vann”.