Not So Rosy In Berkeley

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Short Term Rentals

We have one step forward and two steps back:
The good news is that the City Council voted July 7th to demand enforcement of the existing law prohibiting short term rentals if an owner has three or more units offered as vacation rentals in Berkeley. BTU is sending updated info about the owners we complained about last summer – and we would like you to send any information about big landlords breaking the law to the City Council, and to us, too!
The bad news is that the Council majority may be selling tenants out for some tax revenue so they can cut a deal with megacorps like AirBnB. After promises from Bates and Capitelli to continue the ban on short term rentals of units that are not someone’s home, they voted to “have staff consider the possibility of grandfathering in permits for accessory dwelling units currently being rented out on a short-term basis.” In other words, if you own a duplex and are following the law, you are screwed, but people who have been breaking it might be allowed to legalize their small business.

“After debating some of the finer points about what the city’s ordinance should look like — particularly after a preliminary vote in June — officials agreed to have staff do further research before ratifying the overall law. In the meantime, however, officials want to begin immediately to address the issue of owners with multiple units who are flouting the rules. “It’s currently against the law and it will continue to be against the law,” Worthington said. “Therefore there’s no reason to delay.”
http://www.berkeleyside.com/2016/07/11/berkeley-council-votes-to-crack-down-on-short-term-rentals-of-multiple-units-by-same-owner/comment-page-1/

Durant Demolition Granted
(with Unknown Mitigation)

We have mostly a success story on our continuing opposition to the demolition of 18 rent controlled units on Durant. This is because while the BTU/ASUC appeal was going through a ridiculous year-long city process, the Council passed a new version of the demolition ordinance which requires a mitigation fee for the loss of rent control.

However, the Council did not set the fee. State law says you have to show a direct relationship between the level of a mitigation fee and the damage to society that the money is meant to offset. Council first commissioned a “nexus study” on demolition of rent controlled units several years ago, but they say they still don’t have it back. Some activists think they are waiting until after the election to make an unpopular vote.
BTU plans to demand that the fee be as high as the study says it needs to be to provide for one-for-one replacement of rent controlled units with real affordable housing.

2631 Durant In Daily Cal
“We don’t inherently oppose tearing-down and replacing the building,” Lewis said in an email of the project that would add 38 housing units to the city of Berkeley. “However, we do oppose incentivizing landlords to destroy habitable, low-cost housing in order to try to make a profit.”
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/07/13/lawsuit-prolongs-struggle-2631-durant-ave-complex/

Berkeley Demolition Appeal in SF Chronicle
Berkeley’s approval of demolition increases worries over rent – San Francisco Chronicle

Lawsuit on Durant Demolition
Developer Orloff claims there is an inherent “right to develop.”
“…plaintiffs fault Berkeley for “its enactment of legislation that illegally and unconstitutionally requires property owners to transfer massive sums of money to the City and tenants in order to exercise an essential right of property ownership: the right to develop property.” They seek, among other relief, a declaration from the court that the ordinance violates the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution and its Due Process Clause, and is therefore invalid.The city, in its motion to dismiss, argues that there is a definite nexus between mitigation fees and the public purpose of mitigating the loss of affordable housing…”
http://www.eastbaytimes.com/breaking-news/ci_30145194/berkeley-landlord-sues-city-over-demolition-fees

In Other News

2017 Berkeley Budget Cuts Homeless Services
The City took money from long-established programs to pay for a new “hub” for homeless intake.
http://www.dailycal.org/2016/07/04/several-berkeley-nonprofit-homeless-services-partially-defunded-by-2017-city-budget/

Evictions from Unpermitted Units in SF
“Though S.F. has proven to be an inhospitable place for renters the last several years, the circumstances surrounding this eviction are particularly startling. It seems that Malliett’s new landlords—Mathieu Verbeeck, a VP of product development at Mubi, and Catherine Crevels, a marketing manager at Intuit—are testing out a novel strategy for ejecting tenants. They contend that Malliett and her daughter are causing a “nuisance” by living in a unit that lacks the proper permits. The Board of Supervisors has…”
http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/tech-workers-evict-kindergarten-teacher-mission-apartment-using-appliances

Where Do Renters Evicted from SF Move?
http://antievictionmappingproject.net/relocation.html

San Jose Needs a Demolition Mitigation
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/07/silicon-valley-largest-eviction-rent-controlled-tenants-income-inequality

First Time Buyers Screwed Too
The only cities that fared worse than Oakland and Berkeley were Miami Beach, Florida (299) and Newark, New Jersey (300).”
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/07/18/oakland-berkeley-ranked-worst-u-s-cities-for-first-time-home-buyers/

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