News and Updates

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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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