Housing in the News
Great Summary of the Short Term Rentals Issue
“Almost everyone agrees that there’s nothing wrong with renting out a spare bedroom to travelers, and there’s not even much harm in renting your entire house for a month or two if you’re on vacation and would like to earn a little extra income. But what was once a small, on-the-margins practice of occasionally sharing one’s home with travelers for a few bucks has morphed into a behemoth and avaricious global marketplace for transforming residential housing into hotels… It’s harming renters; it’s helping drive up the cost of rental housing by taking homes and apartments off the rental market; and it’s upending the character of neighborhoods.”
Housing Advisory Commission on Vacation Rentals
“The commission passed six proposals that are in accordance with seven of nine guidelines referred to it by Berkeley City Council. It chose to take no action on whether a unit may be rented for more than 90 days without a host present or how to penalize hosts for regulation violations.”
Students Suffer In Housing Crunch
UC Berkeley’s alumni magazine covered the student housing crisis – but failed to note that it’s folks renting out housing on Airbnb that is taking away permanent homes and contributing to making housing more expensive for all!
“Radio producer Liza Veale has been using Airbnb, the short-term rental company, to rent out three rooms in her parent’s Elmwood home for the past three years. It’s one of a reported 1,162 Airbnb units in Berkeley. At first, she didn’t understand why so many students were renting out a room for roughly $1,000 a month.”
Berkeley’s Short Term Rentals law is expected to be discussed at the planning commission on November 4.
San Francisco’s Prop F – “The Airbnb Law”
BTU has endorsed San Francisco’s Prop F. We hope our City makes a law that can, and will, be enforced – so we don’t have to do a ballot measure here!
“Senator Dianne Feinstein, a fierce foe for Airbnb and its ilk, is in favor of Prop F., which “closes loopholes and provides effective enforcement tools.” She said the current law is unworkable and unenforceable, and guts zoning regulations while incentivizing “illegal conversion of residences to de facto hotel rooms.” She said, classifying Prop F. as a “common sense change.”
“Current law requires hosts to register with the city, but only 618 have done so, the planning department said. Airbnb has 4,238 local hosts with 5,459 listings, while HomeAway/VRBO has about 1,000 listings and FlipKey has 359, a Chronicle investigation found.”
Berkeley Seismic Retrofits: Cup Half Full?
“The retrofitted buildings, which number 145 at latest count, account for 1,591, or just under half, of the 2,841 apartments in buildings identified as particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.”
San Francisco and Los Angeles Retrofits
San Francisco plans to allow rent increases to pay for retrofits. So far, Berkeley hasn’t done that. Los Angeles plans to require retrofit of concrete buildings as well as soft story ones – Berkeley hasn’t done that either.
Foreclosure Crisis Not Over
“…The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) confirmed that the pension fund invested $660 million in two different funds managed by Lone Star, and that the company has used the money to buy up distressed home loans, foreclose on the homeowners, and resell the homes.”