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).

Take Action

BTU is joining with Tenants Together and others to stop rampant security deposit theft.

Landlords hold billions of dollars in security deposits. Deposit theft is one of the most common grievances for California’s 15 million renters. Improper withholding has become so common that many tenants have given up on ever seeing this money again. This has got to change.

Learn more about the statewide campaign here:

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?