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Housing Solutions: Landlords vs. Tenants

Summer 2018 print edition cover story

1. Remaking Rent Control — if Voters Approve

Cities would regain power to regulate rental housing if Proposition 10 passes in November, repealing Costa-Hawkins. But would that help or hurt the affordability crisis?

Published August 14, 2018


 

2. Cities Sic the Taxman on Vacant ‘Ghost Homes’

Is an abundance of vacant units worsening the Bay Area’s housing crisis? That’s what some politicians have suggested. Their solution: a new tax on landlords who leave residential and commercial properties unrented. Oakland will vote in November and an S.F. measure is being planned for 2019. Vancouver, Melbourne and Paris already levy such taxes.

Published August 20, 2018


 

3. Housing Speculators Again in Political Crosshairs

In their 2018 mayoral campaigns, former state senator Mark Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim emphasized the role of speculators in driving gentrification and displacement in San Francisco. A tax or lawsuits would target ‘flippers’ to protect tenants and rental housing. A 2014 measure failed. But S.F. voters may again be asked again whether speculators should be taxed.

Published August 22, 2018


 

4. Voters Approved Legal Aid for Tenants Facing Eviction — Now Comes the Hard Part

Over the past year, with housing still expensive and scarce, more than 1,600 San Francisco tenants have received eviction notices. On June 5, city voters made history, guaranteeing legal help to anyone facing eviction, regardless of income. San Francisco has until July 2019 to set up multimillion-dollar program under Proposition F.

Published August 27, 2018


 

5. Hey, Can We Talk? Mediation Might Help Reduce Evictions

Amid San Francisco’s growing housing crisis, some now see mediation as an alternative to nasty, expensive court fights to keep tenants housed and property owners content. For more than 20 years, that approach has staved off evictions in the capital of Wisconsin.

Published August 27, 2018


 

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

In the summer of 2014, the Public Press examined creative solutions to San Francisco’s housing crisis. Four years later — with a measure on the November ballot to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, the 1995 state law limiting rent control — we’re again looking deeply at potential solutions aimed at renters and landlords: a novel, expanded form of rent control; a tax on vacant units; limits on speculation; and mediation or free legal counsel for tenants being evicted. All were raised during this year’s mayoral race, all are divisive, and all would require action by voters or city officials. More coverage to come.


REPORTING: Noah Arroyo, Liz Enochs, Andrew Stelzer, Liza Veale

EDITING: Michael Winter

COPY EDITING: Richard Knee, Dean Takehara, Sherman Turntine

GRAPHICS: Reid Brown

PHOTOGRAPHY: Sharon Wickham, Garrick Wong

PRINT DESIGN: HyunJu Chappell // Magna Citizen Studio

ONLINE: John Angelico