Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Tenant News Roundup

Rising rents in California continue to squeeze working families and this month some tenant groups and cities have taken up the issue. From defending rent control in San Francisco to proposing rent protections where there are none, tenants are raising their voice. To put the problem in perspective, a recent graphic using data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition highlights the fact that tenants in California would have to work 130 minimum wage hours per week to afford a two bedroom apartment. For many tenants, this means regularly being forced to make a choice between paying their rent and feeding their family, or living in substandard housing. Tenants Together continues to support measures to ensure families have access to safe & affordable housing.

News across the state:

Concord: Mobile Home Residents Angered by Rent Increase
Concord mobile home residents are angered by an Administrative Law Judge's decision that requires them to pay a retroactive rent increase. Some residents have had to take out loans to make the payment.

San Francisco: TIC Legislation is a Rent Control Issue 
Proposed legislation would allow some 2,000 TIC (tenants-in-common) units to bypass the City's limits on condominium conversions, and thus be removed from rent control protections.

Richmond: Controversy Oven Rent Control, Renters' Rights 
The Richmond City Council is looking at the Housing Element of the General Plan, which includes proposals for rent control and "just cause" eviction. Fifty percent of Richmond residents rent their homes.

Notable news outside California:

Arkansas Law Jails Tenants Who Don't Pay Their Rent
Human Rights Watch has condemned the landlord-tenant laws in Arkansas that allow landlords to have tenants jailed if they do not pay their rent or move within 10 days of receiving notice. HRW notes that, in addition to being fundamentally unfair to tenants, landlords frequently abuse the law, in collusion with corrupt public officials.

Christie Blocks Foreclosed Homes as Affordable Housing
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has again vetoed legislation that would enable municipalities in New Jersey to use affordable housing funds to take over foreclosed properties, rehab them, and keep them as permanent affordable housing. Instead, Governor Christie wants to use foreclosure relief monies to plug holes in New Jersey's state budget.

Housing Voucher Holders Seek Protection in Cook County
In Chicago, people with housing vouchers are protected from discrimination. Not in suburban Cook County. Landlords can refuse to rent to tenants with vouchers -- just because. But housing activists and some politicians are trying to change that by changing an ordinance.