Park Street Alameda

Alameda has no rent control. In the letter we have linked to below, their “Rent Review Board” warns landlords that increasing rent more than 10% a year could result in a public push for rent control, “which is bad for landlords and tenants alike.” OH MY!

BTU wants to remind you that we have a good system here in Berkeley, but we can’t take it for granted, and must stand together to keep what we have! One reason we have stronger tenant protections than San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or Alameda is because our Rent Board is elected. But we need more than just a handful of Commissioners looking out for us – we need you! Come to the April 10th potluck, or drop by our table at the Saturday Farmers Market on April 13 and 27 to learn more about how just a few hours of your time each month could make a big change in Berkeley.

soft story sign

BTU will join in the third annual Day of Seismic Safety March 20

Beginning at 5 PM on the steps at UC’s Sproul Plaza, Berkeley activists will join UC students in visiting tenants who live in units on the city’s list of unsafe “soft story” buildings. BTU will join with others in pushing the city to require these buildings be retrofit!

Hundreds of Berkeley properties meet the city’s soft-story definition— a wood-frame structure with five or more units and a ground level containing large openings like storefronts, garages or tuck-under parking. Jennifer Strauss,  external relations officer at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, compared soft-story buildings to houses on  stilts. “The large open spaces on the ground floor that are unreinforced cannot withstand lateral forces,” Strauss said. “When the ground shakes back and forth, they end up collapsing.”

Read more here — and comment on the article if you can!

Cat in the window

Daily Californian on vacancy decontrol and other tenant issues. BTU supporters should go online and post comments to respond to landlord’s claims of “meager earnings.” Rents in the building discussed – which has over 75 units — total over $50,000 a month per the Rent Stabilization Board rent tracking website (which only shows rents for about 50 units, because the other units are masked from public view for various reasons — so the rents are more likely $75,000 a month).

Meter and stairs

National Affordable Housing Campaign Launches!

Will you PLEDGE to expand the supply of affordable rental housing and protect renters’ rights, make banks and corporations pay their fair share, restrict speculation in the housing market, support community land trusts and develop the leadership of residents in need of affordable homes?