In the News
Balcony Lawsuit Says Owners Knew About Problems
If we had the proactive inspections program the City Council will discuss on December 1, then this tragedy may have been prevented.
“The lawsuit claims that Segue used cheaper materials to construct the balcony, making it more susceptible to water damage, and left it exposed to rain during construction in 2005…. Previous tenants reported seeing mushrooms – a clear sign of rot.”
Tenants Reported Signs of Rot Weeks Before Deadly Balcony Collapse
“Library Gardens was only 8 years old when the balcony collapsed, leading many to wonder how such a new building could have such a catastrophic structural failure. The city of Berkeley released a report that identified dry rot as the only contributing factor to the structural failure of the balcony, but the city said determining the reason for that failure was beyond the scope of its analysis. The lawsuit claims to have identified the reason.”
Berkeley Tenant Fights for Garden
Berkeleyside: “Gorell moved into the rent-controlled, one-bedroom apartment in 1979 and began to add plants to the front and side of the building soon after that. Gene Anderson, the son of the original owners, and his wife used to visit annually and would compliment Gorell on how he had turned the space into an alluring swath of green, according to Gorell. Gorell also wrote to the Andersons in 1992 to describe his plans for the garden. There were no complaints, he said.”
Daily Cal: http://www.dailycal.org/2015/11/11/berkeley-tenant-fights-to-preserve-garden-in-ongoing-dispute-with-landlords-property-managers/
Activists Say They Are Targeted for Eviction at Redwood Gardens
Berkeley’s Largest Landlord Leaving Town
Excellent overview of California’s housing crisis and current tenant’s movement.
“Activists in cities that have long had rent control laws are pushing for stronger measures. In Los Angeles, activists like Larry Gross, Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, want the city to stop allowing tenants to be evicted so that speculators can demolish their rent-controlled buildings.”
Alameda Tenants Get Moratorium
Something is better than nothing!
“The Alameda City Council on Wednesday approved a 65-day moratorium on rent increases above 8 percent and no-fault evictions. Tenant advocates were hoping for an outright moratorium as the city considers various permanent tenant protections, including banning evictions without cause.”
Berkeley Fair Election Initiative
“But when elections are determined by fundraising alone, communities pay the price. And when the perception is that only money matters in campaigns, it erodes public faith in government. With voter turnout at historic lows, we need to do everything we can to increase participation.
What if I told you there was a proposal to encourage local candidates to spend more time talking to voters and less time dialing for dollars? What if this proposal could diversify the local donor pool, encourage more voters to participate and make City Council more responsive to the citizens they are elected to serve?”
Evictions and Air BnB
“Data analysis of Airbnb usage in San Francisco tells a decidedly different story about who is benefiting. Although Airbnb refuses to share its numbers, a 2014 report commissioned by the San Francisco Chronicle found that of the (at the time) nearly 5,000 homes, apartments, and private or shared rooms for rent via Airbnb, two-thirds were entire houses or apartments with no owner present during the rental period, and almost a third of Airbnb rentals were controlled by people with two or more listings. Some of the “whole house” or “whole apartment” rentals are from hosts who happen to be away. But many others are being rented out by professional property managers who are handling multiple Airbnb rentals on behalf of absentee home- and condo owners. A separate study conducted by data analyst Tom Slee found similar results. He calculated that about 70 percent of Airbnb revenue comes from hosts who are renting out an entire home or apartment, and 40 percent comes from Airbnb hosts with multiple listings.”
Is Berkeley Like Disneyland?
“More than 40% of the homes that have permits to rent in Anaheim are owned by real estate companies, investment firms or the owners of multiple properties, according to city records.
“These are basically unsupervised mini hotels in our neighborhoods,” said Cornejo, who has called the police on his neighbors several times for late-night noise.
With so many strangers visiting their communities, some residents recently urged Anaheim council members to consider safety and security issues. Renter safety too has become a growing concern in the wake of some well-publicized reports of sexual assault, injuries and deaths at short-term lodgings in other towns.”
Evictions and Rent Hikes Skyrocket In Oakland
NY Attorney General Disregards Airbnb Promises
“It is a transparent ploy by Airbnb to act like a good corporate citizen when it is anything but,” Schneiderman told Re/code in an emailed statement. “The company has all of the information and tools it needs to clean up its act. Until it does, no one should take this press release seriously.”