Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 15, 2014

Use the Task Force

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

As a reminder tonight Alameda United Commercial will be on the agenda for the City Council.  Should be an interesting agenda item or perhaps one that we learn absolutely nothing about.

Also on the agenda tonight is Housing Element which has a weird reference in the Staff Report here regarding the creation of a Housing Cost and Rents Task Force:

Although all members of the Planning Board were in support of the idea of a Council-appointed task force to study the issue, three of the seven members did not agree that the program calling for a Housing Costs and Rents Task Force should be in the Housing Element.

 

While technically true that three members of the Planning Board didn’t want to include the task force in the Housing Element it’s strange to focus on the negative and something that a MINORITY of the Board endorsed as opposed to, you know, the board majority aka the other four members of the Planning Board.

I don’t think there is any harm in creating this task force and codifying it in the Housing Element will assure that it actually happens.  If anyone has taken a look at the rental market lately, it feels as though rents are pretty high right now and that the inventory is pretty low for folks who may not be “ideal” tenants.  There recently was an article in SF Gate about renters with pets having a tough time finding housing that would allow their furry friends space as well.  It would be nice to go beyond anecdotes and feelings about the issue and really understand what the rental housing market is in Alameda given that Alameda is a city with a huge renter population.

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22 Comments

  1. How do we know if we are meeting the Housing Element goal of “Providing housing opportunities to support and enhance Alameda’s diverse community….” if we don’t have a detailed report on “Housing Costs and Rents?” I also don’t get the argument by staff that essentially says they don’t have the staff to do a Housing Element mandated Housing Costs and Rents report, but yet the staff could provide the same report if the city council directed them to provide it outside the auspices of the Housing Element. Is this just a matter of which pot of money the staff time is paid out of? Does the city get to hire consultants if the city council calls for the housing costs study, but not if it’s part of the Housing Element?

    I also noticed under the transportation and housing section of the report that “the regional transportation plan prioritizes transportation funding for improvements needed to support the PDAs [Priority Development Areas – such as Alameda Point and Northern Waterfront].” But the report only cites the contributions to transit modes from new residents who will pay into a transit fund, with no mention of any funding bonanzas for buses from the road builders at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that doles out the money.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — July 15, 2014 @ 7:09 am

  2. There are a number of what may have been formerly rental units that are now listed on ‘airbnb’. Some are just single rooms but others are Apartment Units and entire houses. I counted about 70 listings total.
    https://www.airbnb.com/s/Alameda–CA

    Wondering if these folk have Business Licenses and paying taxes etc. This certainly contributes to the decline of available rentals on the Island.

    Comment by frank M — July 15, 2014 @ 9:55 am

  3. I know a family who does Airbnb as a means of keeping their house because the dad lost his job and has not been able to find steady employment. It’s been a godsend for them. I hate to see Airbnbers attacked as if they are doing something wrong. From the outside, it may look like easy money but the reality is something different. It’s still a lot of work. I’m thinking about renting out a room myself. I see Airbnb more as a way for struggling homeowners to get by rather than exploitation of some kind. Better that people who live here get to keep their homes than have to sell to investors with the money to buy their house outright and flip it for truly outrageous profit. It also brings tourists to the area who spend the dollars they save on lodging at local businesses. It’s not like the community doesn’t benefit from Airbnb.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — July 15, 2014 @ 10:54 am

  4. This certainly contributes to the decline of available rentals on the Island.

    ——————————

    Huh? Airbnb arranges RENTALS, loosely defined as dwelling supplied in exchange for money. If anything the ease of use it offers homeowners may actually INCREASE the supply.

    Comment by dave — July 15, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  5. “Better that people who live here get to keep their homes than have to sell to investors with the money to buy their house outright and flip it for truly outrageous profit.”

    ——————–

    Here’s an interesting piece of trivia: when a house is “flipped”, new people move in, then they magically become “people who live here”! Right in Alameda! It’s a sort of real estate miracle!

    Comment by Brock — July 15, 2014 @ 11:57 am

  6. Yet another fascinating bit: beleaguered homeowners can sell at high prices just like those evil flippers can, thereby making the profits decent & honest instead of outrageous.

    Comment by dave — July 15, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  7. I have been using AirBnb since it first got started and have found it a valuable resource when I travel.

    It has been helpful in Alameda also because I have never been crazy about the hotel accommodations here and when I have guests- it is a nice touch of Alameda. There has been an increase just recently in posted places to stay but mostly there are private rooms and/or private homes. It is a bit hard for me to imagine that Alameda gets so many tourists and visitors that someone would want to let their rental property lay fallow for weeks at a time just to hope to snag a short term rental? If we were a big time destination, maybe (airbnb very controversial in places like New York and SF) – but here? It seems a lot more like people like Denise’s friends trying to do what they can to try and stay in the community that they love. Perhaps I am wrong but it seems like a lot of people are being driven out these days and many are the heart and soul of the good parts of Alameda- the parts that we say we want to keep but then we don’t support them because you know “just renters” or if you get in financial trouble – ah well- too bad, so sad.

    Comment by librarycat — July 15, 2014 @ 1:19 pm

  8. The reason for the rental housing shortage is because demand is up, and we haven’t built any in 40 years. It’s that simple.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 15, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

  9. We also haven’t added any more bridges, tunnels or land area.

    Comment by dave — July 15, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

  10. #7 29 of the 69 listings are for either an entire home or apartment

    Comment by frank M — July 15, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

  11. #10 I get that but am not sure what that is proof of? Some are also houseboats and sailboats. Some of the postings do not even have reviews so that means they are not getting a lot of action. Not clear on how big a market Alameda is for this type of short term rental? Even if something nerfarious was going on by some landlord- I am not sure how profitable it would be? Wouldn’t a more certain cash flow stream be preferred? like from a tenant and a lease?
    Almost everytime I have used the service, it has been in someone’s home and they were traveling or this was their second home or they stayed with friends. Lot of ways for peoples to use the service either as a user or a guest host but still- all in all- not sure that 29 listings is what is going to solve Alameda’s issues with affordable housing and people being driven out?

    Interesting story: a renter tenant in NewYork (rent controlled loft in Soho) is now being sued by her landlord because he found out that she was renting her place for way more than she was paying and he wants the difference. Oh my..

    Comment by librarycat — July 15, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  12. I overheard someone last week looking for an affordable apartment for her nanny. She was complaining because she couldn’t find anything. Her nanny wanted to pay $1,200 for a 2 bedroom apartment. Good luck with that anywhere in the Bay Area these days.

    In addition to the rental shortage, there is a huge lack of affordable housing in Alameda. And it’s not just the nannies that need affordable housing, but a whole range of people including teachers, seniors, janitors, single moms, security guards, etc.

    We need to address the root cause of the problem and build more rental housing including more affordable housing. My earlier point is that we haven’t built rental housing in over 40 years – looks like it’s time to revisit this now that the “housing crisis” is knocking on our front door.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 15, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  13. In answer to the original question- some days it looks like the “ideal” tenant these days is someone who makes 100,00 per year, has no kids or pets, wants to park their shiny new car on the street (what could happen?) and is foolish enough to pay a fortune and still have to go to a laundrymat. Just the kind who cuts and runs with no community involvement when they can move closer to the jobs.
    really kills the neighborhood vibe. I had renter neighbors who were forced to move out to Castro Valley because of financial circumstances and now they have to commute here every day. They used to bike to work now they get to add to the traffic every day- they lived here for years and they really miss their “home”.

    Comment by librarycat — July 15, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

  14. SF is a rent controlled City and one of the most expensive place to rent these days. But tenants have been caught renting out their rent controlled apartment to tourists, while paying much lower rents to their landlord. Not sure what Frank’s point is…..

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 15, 2014 @ 2:49 pm

  15. #14 Karen, No particular point. If we are going to establish a ‘task force’ this is an aspect of the overall situation that at least should be looked into. At the very least they should be required to obtain a Business License. In SF the big deal is that airbnb is avoiding paying the Occupancy Tax. Also many long term resident are being evicted and the Units rented out to Tourist.

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/item/window-into-airbnb-s-hidden-impact-on-s-f-30110.php

    Comment by frank M — July 15, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

  16. Franks, thanks for the clarification. My issue with this is that there seems to be an effort to target small business owners and homeowners to solve a regional problem while ignoring the root cause of the problem – lack of rental and affordable housing inventory.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 15, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

  17. 70% of Total Tax Returns in 94501 and 94502 make less than 50,000 in wages and Salary in a city that averages 2.2 residents per household. Probably why people are renting out rooms in their houses.

    70% of Single and Joint tax returns in 94501 and 94502 made less than 50,000
    IRS Data of Salaries and Wages in 94501 by those filing jointly and single…..28,822 Total Returns

    4104 made between 0-10,000 With the average making 3,952 in Salary and Wages
    5158 made between 10,000 -25,000 with the average making 12,483 in Salary and Wages
    7229 made between 25,000-50,000 with average making 30,040 in Salary and Wages
    4830 made between 50,000 -75,000 with average making 48,730 in Salary and Wages
    2688 made between 75,000-100,000 with the average making 67,253 in Salary and Wages
    3757 made between 100,000-200,000 with average making 103,913 in Salary and Wages
    1056 made more than 200,000 with the Average making 198,888 in Salary and Wages
    IRS Data of Salaries and Wages in 94502 by those filing jointly and single…..6623 Total Returns
    999 made between 0-10,000 With the average making 3658 in Salary and Wages
    653 made between 10,000 -25,000 with the average making 9,775 in Salary and Wages
    922 made between 25,000-50,000 with average making 23,977 in Salary and Wages
    927 made between 50,000 -75,000 with average making 41,356 in Salary and Wages
    742 made between 75,000-100,000 with the average making 58,996 in Salary and Wages
    1642 made between 100,000-200,000 with average making 106,493 in Salary and Wages
    716 made more than 200,000 with the Average making 232,395 in Salary and Wages

    Total Tax Returns in 94501 and 94502
    24,822 make less than 50,000 out of the 35,445 in Salary and Wages or 70%

    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-income-alameda-ca-94502.htm
    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-income-alameda-ca-94501.htm
    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-tax-alameda-ca-94501.htm

    Comment by Why People Are Renting Out Rooms — July 15, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

  18. The reason that rents in SF, SSF, Oakland, Alameda, are going us is people are tired of commuting. What sort of life do you have if you spend 9 hours at work everyday (including lunch) and have to commute 1 or 2 houses each way. The lack of affordable housing…is sort of a grey area. Should the people who can afford housing subsidize those who can’t, it is just another form of welfare. If we had to buy out house today we probably couldn’t afford it. I read I think in the SF Business Times, The Seattle area has built twice as many housing units as the SF area and the prices of the has risen and Seattle area have risen but stay more stable. The new Yuppie is a quick commute, or living in the urban areas. I had to go to Pleasanton last Monday and I thought wow I would never what to live here. I know without naming names but several have posted on here who are landlords…what do you rent out your apartments for? Market rate or affordable rates?

    Comment by Joseph — July 16, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  19. Mike things don’t seem to add up…Incomes are not matching Housing Values. People at the City and School District are raising fees and taxes like were a Wealthy City. We have deferred pension obligations and deferred maintenance on City assets last 15 years to the tune of a billion and another 600 million to deferred maintenance on our schools to bring them up to speed. How do we solve this issue?

    40% of our Students in Alameda live in Poverty and Recieve Free Food and Lunches at School.

    70% of Total Tax Returns in 94501 and 94502 make less than 50,000 in wages and Salary in a city that averages 2.2 residents per household.

    Probably why people are renting out rooms in their houses.

    70% of Single and Joint tax returns in 94501 and 94502 made less than 50,000
    IRS Data of Salaries and Wages in 94501 by those filing jointly and single…..28,822 Total Returns

    4104 made between 0-10,000 With the average making 3,952 in Salary and Wages
    5158 made between 10,000 -25,000 with the average making 12,483 in Salary and Wages
    7229 made between 25,000-50,000 with average making 30,040 in Salary and Wages
    4830 made between 50,000 -75,000 with average making 48,730 in Salary and Wages
    2688 made between 75,000-100,000 with the average making 67,253 in Salary and Wages
    3757 made between 100,000-200,000 with average making 103,913 in Salary and Wages
    1056 made more than 200,000 with the Average making 198,888 in Salary and Wages

    IRS Data of Salaries and Wages in 94502 by those filing jointly and single…..6623 Total Returns

    999 made between 0-10,000 With the average making 3658 in Salary and Wages
    653 made between 10,000 -25,000 with the average making 9,775 in Salary and Wages
    922 made between 25,000-50,000 with average making 23,977 in Salary and Wages
    927 made between 50,000 -75,000 with average making 41,356 in Salary and Wages
    742 made between 75,000-100,000 with the average making 58,996 in Salary and Wages
    1642 made between 100,000-200,000 with average making 106,493 in Salary and Wages
    716 made more than 200,000 with the Average making 232,395 in Salary and Wages
    Total Tax Returns in 94501 and 94502
    24,822 make less than 50,000 out of the 35,445 in Salary and Wages or 70%
    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-income-alameda-ca-94502.htm
    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-income-alameda-ca-94501.htm
    http://www.incometaxlist.com/alameda-tax-alameda-ca-94501.htm

    Comment by How do we solve this issue — July 17, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

  20. aren’t all Airbnb renters supposed to be super cool hipsters? sounds like this guy was a scammer from day one. Airbnb going to help with the legal muscle, or at least chip in for legal advise? It can take 90 days to go through a legal eviction. I’m waiting for the trail of Uber driver who hit the young girl and for an attack on an Uber driver.

    Comment by MI — July 25, 2014 @ 6:16 pm


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