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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Peninsula | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Peninsula Tenants Urge your elected official to ENACT RENT CONTROL and TENANT PROTECTIONS
Tenants across California are begging elected officials for Tenant Protections and Rent Control.
We've heard enough promises. It's time for action. Write your elected official NOW
South Bay / Peninsula Tenants - SAMCAR is calling for landlords to contact elected officials to stop rent control
As tenants, I encourage you to contact your elected officials and demand that they ENACT TENANT PROTECTIONS NOW.
This is the SAMCAR statement: https://www.samcar.org/posts/call-for-action-oppose-rent-control-375.htm
These are your reps:
tnagel [at] burlingame.org
akeighran [at] burlingame.org
rortiz [at] burlingame.org
jroot [at] burlingame.org
mbrownrigg [at] burlingame.org
ervinK [at] ci.pacifica.ca.us
digres [at] ci.pacifica.ca.us
nihartm [at] ci.pacifica.ca.us
O'Neillm [at] ci.pacifica.ca.us
keenerj [at] ci.pacifica.ca.us
jgee [at] redwoodcity.org
mfreschet [at] cityofsanmateo.org
jmatthews [at] cityofsanmateo.org
dlim [at] cityofsanmateo.org
jgoethals [at] cityofsanmateo.org
rbonilla [at] cityofsanmateo.org
Rich.Garbarino [at] ssf.net
cgroom [at] smcgov.org
dpine [at] smcgov.org
dhorsley [at] smcgov.org
ATissier [at] smcgov.org
wslocum [at] smcgov.org
Here is an email that I just sent.
Dear Mayors and City Council Members:
I am a responsible renter. I pay my rent on time, and follow the rules of my lease. I am a good neighbor, and a good tenant.
I participate and spend my money in the local community.
Unfortunately, none of that mattered when my apartment building was purchased by real estate speculators. My new landlords immediately launched into demolitions without obtaining permits or following lead-safe work practices. Tenant health and safety was ignored. Laws were broken. Tenants were injured. None of this mattered to the real estate speculators who purchased our building. The only thing that mattered was the speed of which this work could be performed, and how cheaply it could be done.
These speculators purchased 10 buildings at the same time. They managed to push tenants out of two properties, and sold the buildings within the year for double what they paid. My building was wrapped in plastic sheeting (no notice) and they launched an exterior demolition while we were living inside.
This is pure greed with no regard to human life. These are investors who have no interest the health, safety or happiness of the residents in the community that you serve.
These are investors with a goal of purchasing, evicting, and flipping for quick cash. These activities leave families without homes, and destroy communities.
I'm sure you've been receiving many phone calls and emails from members of SAMCAR, since the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and the California Apartment Association have been putting out calls to action.
I think the most offensive line of the example email they are encouraging landlords to send is "allegations of a few tenants"
Tim Redmond of the SF Guardian recently published an article about the housing crisis. This section really hit home:
"The other category is what I call the Earthquake Profiteers.
Imagine, for a moment, that the Big One hits – a really Big One, 9.0 or more, and the city of San Francisco is a disaster area. There is no electricity, no transit, water pipes damaged and taps unsafe – and a big supermarket opens up and charges $50 for a quart of drinking water and $20 for a cup of rice. Starving, thirsty children are turned away by armed guards. Parents beg for just a bit of humanity, but no: You got cash, you survive. You don’t, you can die on the streets.
A huge storm hits, with cold hail and rain. A big landlord has plenty of space in a building where people can sleep warm and dry – but it’s $500 a person a night for a cot. The sick, the elderly, people with infants … they are locked out if they can’t afford the tab. Let ‘em die.
Would we, as a city, vilify those people? Would every politician in town call them out? Would the newspapers publish their names in a Hall of Shame? Would the district attorney and the city attorney look for ways to prosecute them? Would the state and local governing bodies instantly pass laws against disaster-profiteering (as, by the way, we did during WWII, when “excess profits” from the war were not only heavily taxes but roundly criticized?) Would every decent human being refuse to have anything to do with them?
I would hope so.
But the people and corporations taking the same sort of advantage of the housing crisis? The speculators, the bad landlords, the evictors? The ones who are making a fortune off the misery of people who have done nothing but try to remain in a city under pressure they did not create, people whose only crime is to be less wealthy than the new arrivals? The political players who represent the interests of these vultures? They are treated, for the most part, as business people just doing what business people do.
And they are allowed to defeat laws that would reign in the profits they destroying other people’s lives, while the political class that runs this city and takes their money says it’s just fine.
The worst Nimbys in the city aren’t even close to that class of villains."
It is my hope that you will determine as I have that we DO need rent control regulations, an eviction-for-cause ordinance, and tenant protections in order to keep myself and other renters from being pushed out of our homes and the community.
We have a housing crisis which is fueled in part by speculative greed. Small landlords are leaving the market, and being replaced with larger corporations and property management companies. Tenants are looked at as obstacles in the real estate world of quick profits.
There may be some remaining mom and pop landlords out there, but many are being bought out by larger operations who have no concern for the community. Their only concern is how much money they can make.
Until the speculative frenzy has cooled down, the entire Bay Area needs a multi-pronged plan to stabilize rents, and keep renters in their homes.
* Limit the amount rents can be increased.
* Establish a policy for Just Cause evictions, which require relocation benefits for tenants.
* Please also consider a Tenant Protection Ordinance, like what was passed for Oakland tenants in November 2014.
In the face of landlords who are incapable of self-regulation, rent control and just cause eviction protections are excellent solutions to keep tenants in their homes, and children in school. They make the local housing market less appealing to those housing providers who are looking to make a quick profit, and encourage renters to stay in the community.
I know the EBRHA, CAA and SAMCAR will fight tooth and nail to stop it from happening, but at what point is profit a higher priority than keeping people in homes?
Please DO consider rent control and just cause evictions as solutions. Go beyond considering and simply act.
Thank you for your consideration and please direct staff to recognize and act on immediate solutions that benefit the renters in your community. These are your neighbors, friends, and voters.
A pretty telling quote on the SAMCAR website:
"Government Affairs is the voice of the REALTORS® in local government. Our goal is to protect the REALTORS® of San Mateo County from ordinances, rules and regulations that would be a hindrance to the success of their businesses. Government Affairs also works to advance one of SAMCAR's primary objectives: the preservation of private property rights throughout San Mateo County."