IN THE MEDIA

SACRAMENTO Media Reports on the Unprecedented Rental Housing Crisis

Sacramento Passes New Rent Control Rules, Limits Increases At 10 Percent

 

Sacramento City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a rent control compromise negotiated between officials and proponents of a ballot measure pushing for stronger tenant protections. 

The new rules would put a 10 percent cap on yearly rent increases in the city, and also require property owners to give tenants 120 days notice for evictions without cause.

Many landlords opposed language in the act, which passed by a 7-to-1 vote.

Proponents of a measure that garnered enough signatures last year to qualify for the 2020 ballot threw their support behind the city’s proposal, saying that it gives renters immediate relief despite its shortcomings.

Veronica Beaty, who helped craft the ballot measure, suggested that the new rules will still have an impact on tenants. “My rent has increased rent by nearly 40 percent over the time I have lived in Sacramento,” she said at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Here come the tenants

 

Tenants living in fear of the next rent hike. People choosing between paying rent and eating. Families having to move out as wealthier renters from the Bay Area displace them. There was no shortage of stories at a recent town hall that kicked off the battle to bring rent control and just-cause eviction regulations to Sacramento in 2020.

 

Organized by a coalition of community and labor groups, the February 15 event drew a full house at Sol Collective on 21st Street. Tenant advocates spent the evening explaining their upcoming campaign for the Sacramento Renter Protection and Community Stabilization Charter Amendment, as well as recruiting volunteers and neighborhood leaders to spread their message around the city.

“We’ve put all of our best talent together,” said Margarita Maldonado of SEIU Local 1000. “Now we need to get out into the community.”

Sacramento rent control measure qualifies for 2020 

 

Sacramento city voters will weigh in on local rent control in 2020, after a canvass of registered voter signatures for a ballot measure showed enough to qualify.

Housing 4 Sacramento, the umbrella group supporting the measure, announced the qualification Thursday, though the exact ballot it will appear on hasn’t been determined...

Sacramento rent control measure would put a cap on increases. You’ll get to vote on it in 2020

Sacramento would cap rent hikes at 5 percent under a measure that qualified Thursday for the 2020 ballot as city residents grapple with soaring housing costs.

 

City officials said Thursday that a petition drive, backed by rent control advocates and labor unions, has gained enough signatures — 44,000 — to qualify for the city ballot in two years. The signatures were independently tallied and analyzed by county voting officials.

The “Sacramento Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment” would limit rent increases as well as restrict landlords’ ability to evict renters. It also establishes an elected rental-housing board tasked with monitoring and enforcing rent controls.....

Sacramento Rent Control Proponents File Signatures For Ballot Measure

Proponents of a measure to enact rent control in Sacramento say they submitted enough signatures on Thursday (8/30) to qualify for the ballot...

Sacramento needs a real plan to help renters, not another windfall for landlords

We came to the table to negotiate in good faith. In fact, we were even negotiating with Region Business – and making progress, we thought – before it walked away from the table. That is why we find their opinion article so objectionable...

Developers also have a plan to solve Sacramento’s housing crisis. You’ll hate this part...

With rent increases that continue to rank among the nation’s highest and scores of tenants who continue to worry about being forced into homelessness, there are plenty of reasons for Sacramentans to be skeptical of the new wave of promises coming from developers who have made so much money in the booming housing market.

Isn't Sacramento richer if you can afford to live here? She's fighting to make it so

What if Sacramento joined San Francisco in the dismal category of pricing working class people out of decent housing? If that happened, Sacramento would lose what has always been a strength. The ability to rise above difficult circumstances through safe, stable housing has made Sacramento a better community.

Point: Sacramento Needs Rent Control-

 

Between 2016 and 2017, Sacramento suffered a staggering average 9.9 percent rent increase — the largest year-to-year increase in the country. Compounding this hardship, Sacramento landlords evicted 2,044 households in 2016, which was the third-highest number among California’s 57 largest cities, according to a study by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University.

It shouldn't take a threat of rent control for Sacramento to fix the housing crisis...

Because while Steinberg and the City Council have been busy doing other things — you know, putting off until tomorrow what they could do the day after tomorrow — rental prices have climbed faster in Sacramento than almost any city in the country.

"Greater Sacramento went from six poor neighborhoods to 18 over the six-year span, a 200 percent increase tied for second-highest in the nation behind Albuquerque, New Mexico, according to census data researched by 24/7 Wall Street and published in USA Today. Poor neighborhoods are defined as those where at least 40 percent of four-person families earn an annual net income of less than $25,100."

As recently as 2010, Sacramento’s poverty rate of 12.5% was below the the U.S. poverty rate of 12.7% at the time. Today, an estimated 15.8% of metro area residents live in poverty, a larger share than the 14.2% of Americans nationwide. Over the same period, concentrated poverty has also increased considerably in the metro area around California’s capital. The share of the metro area’s poor residents living in high poverty neighborhoods increased from 3.4% to 9.7%. Despite the uptick, concentrated poverty is less common in Sacramento than it is nationwide as the U.S. concentrated poverty rate stands at 12.9%.

Toward the end of the evening, after a few miles of walking, Ms. Her came across a landlord — the scenario that her colleagues had practiced. He was Gustavo Casillas, 62, a retired landscaper who also owned rental property. But Ms. Her did not have to do much persuading to get him to sign. Mr. Casillas picked up the pen without hesitation.

Why would a landlord sign a proposal for rent control? “We haven’t raised the rents in years because we want to keep them there,” he said of his tenants. “I don’t care for homelessness, especially with veterans. I think more should be done about that.”

The region still leads the country in increases at "rent-by-necessity" class properties, priced for tenants who generally can't afford to buy a home. Rent increases at those properties rose 8 percent in February. At “lifestyle," or rent-by-choice, class properties in the Sacramento region, rents increased by about 5 percent year-over-year, trailing Orlando and Las Vegas. Ressler said the rent hikes are increasingly being felt by working-class folks. That is fueling support for a potential ballot measure that would impose rent control in Sacramento, and causing consternation for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other local leaders, Ressler said.

Question: Could $1,000 cash help Sacramento renters stay in their homes?

Answer: We applaud Mayor Steinberg’s plan for establishing a city emergency fund for renters suffering a one-time financial crisis, however we know that such a program won’t come close to solving the problem of skyrocketing rents in Sacramento. The plan is similar to Housing Now’s former program for families with a developmental disabled family member, and it resembles Salvation Army’s Housing emergency grant program that runs out of funds annually. These programs definitely help households suffering a one-time financial emergency to be able to stay put for a month, but they aren’t meant as a sustainable source of assistance for people experiencing substantial monthly rent increases at the hands of rent-gouging landlords looking to maximize their profits, nor will the program protect renters who are being evicted so landlords can capitalize on the historically low rental vacancy rate of 2%.

Additionally although we believe incentives for landlords to accept Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) may help, a better way is to pass an ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against renters who pay their rent with government subsidized vouchers.

Sacramento renters are in crisis. We need ALL the policy tools and programs available to us to stabilize the rental market in the city, including a fair rent stabilization ordinance, to ensure extreme market forces and greed don’t tear our communities apart and increase homelessness and family instability.

The combination of the Mayor’s proposed programs, with anti-discrimination laws, a rent stabilization ordinance and building more housing, (including affordable regulated units within new developments,) would help the city get back on track to providing a stable rental housing supply that meets the needs of our working families, seniors, college graduates, and single adults.

Original Bee Article:

Could $1,000 cash help Sacramento renters stay in their homes?

By Ryan Lillis

RLillis@sacbee.com

March 12, 2018 12:01 AM

Updated March 13, 2018 08:27 AM

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg set an ambitious goal last year of finding shelter for 2,000 homeless people. Now he's floating a plan he said could help prevent another 2,000 people from ending up on the streets.


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/city-beat/article203187179.html#storylink=cpy

New Sacramento Rent Control Effort Takes Step Toward November Ballot

On Tuesday, a notice was filed with the city clerk’s office for the Sacramento Renter Protection And Community Stabilization Charter Amendment. The petitioners argue that, since the city does not regulate rent prices or prevent certain types of evictions, a new charter amendment is needed.

Michelle Pariset with housing-advocacy group Organize Sacramento signed the petition. She said that average rents in the city went up nearly 10 percent last year — and likely will again in 2018.

“If we want to keep our communities whole,” Pariset said, “we need to do something to stop the displacement.”

The Approaching Battle for Rent Control

Sacramento faces skyrocketing rents as an onslaught of new and higher-income residents move into the city. As landlords raise their tenants’ rent, long-term residents with deep ties to their community grow increasingly at risk of being forced out of the City or onto its streets. Local residents and activists have begun to look towards rent control as a powerful tool to help address this crisis. They face a tough battle.

Well-organized and heavily funded, the opposition to rent control initiatives in California has a track record of campaigning hard and often successfully against such efforts. In particular, the California Apartment Association, representing landlords throughout the state, unleashes a heavy stream of cash to kill rent control proposals whenever they’re made. Last year in Santa Rosa alone, in a city less than half the size of Sacramento, the Association dumped almost a million dollars in a committee to defeat a rent control initiative there.

Let’s look at the facts. From June 2016 to June 2017, Sacramento had the highest year-over-year rent increases in the nation, an average increase of 9.9 percent. As a result we’re seeing the mass displacement of community members unable to afford such drastic increases. The policy Smith calls for, protection against rent-gouging, actually is the purpose of rent control.

Sacramento continues to experience the nation’s fastest rent growth, with an increase of 9.3 percent over the past year.

Tens of thousands of Sacramento residents have been forcibly kicked out of their homes. Can rent control stop the displacement?

See the Sacramento Housing Alliance's own Veronica Beaty talk student homelessness in Sacramento with @ABC10 's @BeccaReports .1 in 10 @SacState students are homeless because of high housing costs and rent increases.

“This is not just a sobering report,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg shouted into a bank of microphones on Monday. “This is a damning report!” He’s right to be angry.

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We invite you to read Sacramento Housing Alliance’s timely paper filled with information on rent stabilization programs and how we might think about a program here in Sacramento. The paper presents both a historical perspectives and a listing of rent stabilization policies in place today in other jurisdictions. The paper also includes information about “just cause eviction” requirements which are critical to pair with rent control polices.

INTRODUCTION: 

Sacramento is experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing that is causing undue stress and financial burdens on our renter households. Rents are rising, the vacancy rate is shrinking, and most of the new housing units built in Sacramento are aimed at above-moderate income households. This crisis has led many community members to call for rent stabilization to protect vulnerable renters.

Rent stabilization (also known as rent control) is broadly defined as a policy tool that protects tenants of privately owned residential properties from excessive rent increases, the same way homeowners are protected from excessive interest rate increases by fixed rate mortgages and property tax increases by Proposition 13. Rent stabilization aims to preserve the affordability of non-subsidized units while ensuring landlords receive a fair return on their investment. Increasingly, rent stabilization is seen as one of several effective community stabilization and anti-displacement policies that could relieve rent-burdened Sacramento residents. This paper will review the history of rent stabilization, common components of rent stabilization policies, the various effects of rent stabilization, and discuss how rent stabilization could be enacted in the City of Sacramento.

Key findings detailed in the white paper include:

  • Rent Stabilization Does Not Decrease Housing Construction

  • Rent Stabilization Promotes Neighborhood Stability

  • Rent Stabilization Does Not Affect Housing Maintenance and Quality

Read the full report here.

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Celebrating 
30
Years!

Rent Matters: What are the Impacts of Rent Stabilization Measures?

 

By Manuel Pastor, Vanessa Carter, and Maya Abood- October 10, 2018

 

Rent Matters shows that rent stabilization is one tool in addressing the housing crisis with far fewer negative impacts than is generally thought. It will not address everything but it also will not impede the housing market. It is a useful tool in a crisis.

Surveying existing research on rent regulations, we find that moderate rent controls do not constrain new housing, do promote tenant stability, may lead to condo conversion (which can be limited with other tools), and may deter displacement from gentrification.

This report was commissioned by the California Community Foundation.

Key findings detailed in the report include:

  • Researchers find that rent stabilization is a useful tool in addressing California’s dire housing crisis

  • Rent regulations do not necessarily increase the rent of non-regulated units and may actually keep rent more affordable for all.

  • Rent regulations have minimal negative impact on new construction.

  • Rent stabilization increases housing stability, which has important health and educational attainment benefits.

  • When rent regulations allow for condominium conversion, units are then taken off the market.

  • There is no conclusive evidence about the impacts on “mom and pop” landlords.

  • Rent regulations may deter gentrification.

As detailed in the report, rent regulations have less deleterious effects than is often imagined particularly more moderate rent stabilization measures which seem to promote resident stability which can help slow the displacement dimension of gentrification.

 

For the full report, click here.

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A report produced by a collaboration between PolicyLink, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Right To The City Alliance

 

By Amee Chew & Sarah Treuhaft- February, 2019

 

Summary: Amid the worst renter crisis in a generation, it is time for policymakers to respond to the call for rent control to protect tenants from skyrocketing rents and displacement. leveraging this powerful yet underutilized tool would have tremendous payoff: if the rent control and tenant protection policies being debated right now in states and localities become reality, 12.7 million renter households will be stabilized. if adopted by states nationwide, 42 million households could be stabilized.

Key findings detailed in the report include:

  • Rent control works—it increases housing stability and affordability for current tenants. Tenants living in rent-controlled units move less frequently, are less likely to experience destabilizing forced moves, and pay substantially less than tenants in non-regulated units of similar size and quality.

  • Rent control is unrivaled in speed and scale. Rent control is the only policy tool that can immediately provide relief to renters facing unaffordable rent increases. Because rent control covers private rental housing where the vast majority of renters live, it outperforms all other affordable housing tools in terms of scale of impact. In cities with rent control, it is often the largest source of affordable housing.

  • Rent control is cost-effective. While rent control requires a government apparatus to implement, the costs for operating rent control programs can be covered by modest fees and can even be cost-neutral.

  • Rent control protects low-income households. Like all consumer protections, rent control applies to renters of all incomes. But rent control disproportionately benefits low-income tenants, seniors, people of color, women-headed households, persons living with disability and chronic illness, families with children, and others who have the least choice in the rental market and are most susceptible to rent gouging, harassment, eviction, and displacement.

The report concludes: "Implementing rent control on a widespread basis is not a panacea, but it is a critical and meaningful step forward. Rent regulations will curb the growing power imbalance between landlords and tenants that is causing harm and immediately halt the pain, stabilize renters, and set us on a new path toward greater housing security and housing justice.The stakes are enormous, and so is the upside: right now, 12.7 million renter households stand to benefit if policymakers say “yes” to rent control in the places where new policies are being debated. Rent control is the right choice in the face of our renter emergency. And it is the smart choice: when renters thrive, their families, communities, and local economies thrive."

 

For the full report, click here.

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