The money trail: How big landlords are trying to undermine the state rent control initiative

The money trail: How big landlords are trying to undermine the state rent control initiative

by Tim Redmond
June 26, 2024

The Board of Supes continued a vote on a statewide rent-control measure Tuesday because Sup. Ahsha Safai, a likely supporter, left the meeting early. It will be back July 2.
In the meantime, it’s worth looking at how the big landlord lobby is organizing against the measure—and trying to stop its sponsor from funding future pro-tenant legislation.
It’s a trail of big money and front groups.

The money trail: How big landlords are trying to undermine the state rent control initiative

Big Real Estate wants to prevent effective rent control—and is pushing SF supes

by Tim Redmond
June 20, 2024

The Big Real Estate lobby, with the support of California Yimby, is going to great lengths to defeat a measure that would allow effective rent control in California—including a lobbying campaign to stop the SF Board of Supes from endorsing the measure.
At the center of the local effort is Sup. Catherine Stefani, who this week tried to block a normally routine effort by the supes to endorse the state bill.

The money trail: How big landlords are trying to undermine the state rent control initiative

A truly bizarre debate on rent control at the Board of Supes

by Tim Redmond
June 19, 2024

For many years, one of the most important political debates in San Francisco and other tenant-heavy cities involved expanding rent controls to vacant apartments. The idea is pretty clear: If you let landlords raise the rent to market rates when a tenant moves out, then those landlords have every incentive to find a way to get rid of long-term renters. Many of the evictions, legal and dubious, that have plagued this city have their roots in that problem.

These cities have a new tactic to evade California housing laws. Legal experts are dubious

These cities have a new tactic to evade California housing laws. Legal experts are dubious

by Ben Christopher
June 18, 2024

A recent court ruling exempted five charter cities from a controversial housing law. That’s given anti-density advocates across California an idea.
When a judge ruled recently that a controversial state housing law did not apply to a handful of southern California cities, Julie Testa saw it as an invitation.
Testa, the vice mayor of Pleasanton, wanted what Redondo Beach was having. She wanted to turn her bedroom community east of San Francisco Bay into a charter city.

The money trail: How big landlords are trying to undermine the state rent control initiative

Does the US have a housing shortage—or an affordable housing shortage?

by Tim Redmond
June 18, 2024

If you’re rich, there’s no problem finding a place to live in San Francisco. Lots of houses and condos are for sale; lots of apartments are for rent. In fact, the Chron just reported that most houses for sale in the city have been on the market for a month or more. Prices are, as they say in the business, softening; that means a place that might have been listed at $2 million could sell for $1.8 million. That means nothing to the vast majority of the people who work in this city; they can’t afford either price.

One City’s Downtown Plan: Empty Office Space That Is Too Cheap to Pass Up

One City’s Downtown Plan: Empty Office Space That Is Too Cheap to Pass Up

By Peter Grant
June 11, 2024

U.S. cities aiming to convert half-filled office towers into residential buildings are looking north of the border to Calgary, Alberta, which has one of the most aggressive programs in North America to promote these conversions.
American officials have been studying the Calgary program, and some cities have even sent delegations to visit the western Canadian city. Early returns show the promise—and limitations—of conversion plans.