Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 17, 2015

#AlamedansFirst to be evicted

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

If the recent developments at the Bayview Apartments located at 470 Central Street doesn’t alert the City Council that there are serious problems with the rental housing market, then I’m not sure what will.   While some folks are worried about the tiny feelings of elected officials being hurt — or perhaps their political narrative being compromised — when the actions and history of their elected officials of choice are being discussed in context with this issue.  (Pro-tip: you don’t get bonus points for attempting to fix something that you screwed up in the first place.) I’m more concerned about the people and families being affected by the half measures taken by this City Council which signal to the “out-of-town” landlords or whoever we are blaming today for the rental housing crisis.

Unfortunately the first victims of the City Council’s qualified “support” are these 470 Central families that have gone through the RRAC process already, twice, in as many years.  We were told by Trish “I go to every RRAC meeting” Spencer that this RRAC process works.  And we were told by housing providers to continue to let the RRAC attempt to do its job even though the changes to the RRAC are largely cosmetic and the RRAC still lacks any real authority.

Here are photos snapped by reporters and advocates at the 470 Cenral press conference on Saturday:

For those that are unclear about what is happening, from the Alameda Journal’s Peter Hegarty:

Residents of the Bayview Apartments at 470 Central Ave. were informed Nov. 7 that they must leave by Jan. 8. But on Veterans Day, the property owner, Sridhar Equities Inc., pushed back the deadline to Jan. 11.

“We are like a family here,” said Rommel Laguardia, 48, on Friday who lives in a one-bedroom unit with his wife and three children. “People are very stressed about what might happen, you can see it on their faces. Even the children.”

“They just want us out so that so that they can bring other tenants who will pay higher rents,” Laguardia said as he stood in the doorway of his apartment. “Where is everyone who lives here supposed to go? Do we all have to go live in tents by the bridge?”

Even in the face of eviction story after eviction story, we get this rehash of the pre-written comments read by Tony Daysog on the night of November 4 and this from Mayor Trish Spencer in an article about a couple being evicted in the SF Chronicle:

Spencer opposes setting a limit on rent increases, but says she’d support a law that empowered the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee to set limits on individual rents. The committee can suggest rent caps through a mediation process, but its decisions aren’t binding.

Given Trish Spencer’s insistence that everything be left in the hands of the RRAC, it’s even more important that the RRAC be reflective, thoughtful, and deliberative.  Oh, also, Trish Spencer’s pick, Karin Lucas, resigned from the RRAC yesterday, so there is a opening on the RRAC for a Housing Provider.

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74 Comments

  1. Unfortunately the first victims of the City Council’s qualified “support” are these 470 families that have gone through the RRAC process already, twice, in as many years.

    ————————

    Does that mean that 470 families have been in from of RRAC twice in two years? Or that some number from 470 Central have?

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 6:40 am

  2. Sorry, 470 Central, I made the correction above.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 6:46 am

  3. Lauren why don’t you get Senator Diane Feinstein involved and get her opinion on how to handle issue like this.

    She might have some great insights considering her Husband is largest Real Estate Holder in San Francisco.

    This issue is alot bigger than Alameda.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 6:58 am

  4. Excerpt from article:

    Laguardia, who is unemployed, and his wife, Rhona, a certified nursing assistant, pay $1,064 monthly for their apartment. The amount includes water and garbage. The family has lived in the apartment since November 2011.

    There are some two-bedroom units in the complex that rent for about $1,450, Laguardia said. Two apartments are currently vacant

    ———————

    While one cannot say for sure without knowing the particulars of the apartments, these rents *seem* pretty low. If a Craigslist perusal is accurate (and of course it often isn’t) these rents appear well below market. That indicates that both the RRAC and the property manger may have been quite friendly to these tenants. Obviously there are more details needed to conclude either way, but at first look, maybe the RRAC process should be repeated for a third time.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 7:00 am

  5. Dave I live in a similar apartment and my Rent is 1680 + I Pay about 55 dollars a month for water and Garbage (1735 Total). I have lived here a little over 3 Years.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 7:12 am

  6. Lauren when you talk with Feinstein and her office ask her why they sold blocks of Homes in Oakland To CALPERS and CALSTERS 10-20 cents on the dollar while we had huge housing problem and they were foreclosing on the people really needing a place to live.

    There were Thousands of Homes in Oakland and Bay Area were people lost their homes going to these pension funds.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 7:23 am

  7. There were over 100,000 families just in Oakland trying to get section 8 and get on the list for housing assistance. This is not something that just happened.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 7:28 am

  8. 4, 5: Dave and BKJ, your comments seem–at least to this reader–to assume one or more of the following:

    a) Alameda should not have–or does not want–any poor people within its borders

    b) Lower-income renters should be OK with paying nearly all of their monthly income in rent ($1735 versus $1064) instead of “only” 40 to 60 per cent of it.

    c) There is, in fact, someplace where these evicted renters can, in fact, afford to move without losing jobs, family ties, and more (a questionable assumption at best)

    d) Removing students from their classes and school communities has no negative effects, either on the evicted students or on their friends who lose their companionship

    e) Below-market (translation = affordable) rents are bad

    Granted, this regional rental crisis “is not something that just happened,” but Alameda’s elected leaders *have* (once again) failed to take sufficiently strong action. (NOTE: empty platitudes spouted from the dais or in a newspaper do not count as action.)

    Like most Bay Area communities, Alameda needs to act more forcefully than it has to date in order to preserve the basic fabric and diversity that most residents prize.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 17, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  9. I’ll type this slower in hopes you can understand it this time:

    -Rents appear to be well below market. Not the detailed qualifications on appearance vs. reality.

    -Blogmistress states that more than one household from that address has gone before RRAC more than one time.

    -IF rents are below market, and given the multiple uses of the RRAC, it MIGHT be that the RRAC has helped tenants in the past, and/or that landlord has cuts tenants some serious breaks. IF in fact the RRAC has helped on 2 occasions in the past, perhaps a 3rd try would help tenants again. Note the qualifications, and lack of definite conclusion. It is a supposition based on information presented or gleaned from quick sources.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 8:29 am

  10. typo: *NOTE* the detailed qualifications

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 8:30 am

  11. 13 families from 470 Central appeared before the RRAC in 2014. The RRAC suggested a 10% increase as opposed to whatever was being offered. According to the minutes in the year prior tenants had already received a 6 – 8% rent increase. There were numerous complaints aired about lack of maintenance. Complaints such as mold, rodents, termites, lack of responsiveness to maintenance requests, water damage, etc.

    In 2015, 15 families from 470 Central appeared before the RRAC. Eight families from the 2014 RRAC appearance made a 2nd complaint in 2015. I’m pretty sure going to the RRAC is a last option scenario, because now the entire building is being evicted rather than needing to “cut breaks” or have the RRAC suggest “friendly” compromise rent hikes.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 8:37 am

  12. I wonder if even a formal Rent Control Ordinance could/would protect the Tenants in a situation like this. It would provide relocation relief in the form of $$$ if incorporated into the Ordinance. In 2004 we had a similar situation with Harbor Island Apartments where 400 households were evicted. In the end the Courts ruled that the evictions could proceed. http://www.alamedareport.org/local/harborisle040731/

    Comment by frank m — November 17, 2015 @ 8:45 am

  13. 11

    Thank you, I had not seen those specifics. Are they on city web site?

    Is it fair to conclude that the rents are/were below market, and if so, is it then fair to conclude that RRAC process helped hold them down?

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  14. RRAC info

    The rents are below market because, based on the testimony given, the apartment building is poorly maintained. I’m not sure that okaying two years of 10% rent increases held down rents. If people don’t receive 10% COL increases, 10% annual rent increases amount to a de facto eviction.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 9:10 am

  15. The rents are below market because, based on the testimony given, the apartment building is poorly maintained

    There is a market price for poorly maintained property as well as crystal ones, same as there’s a market for both Chevys and Cadillacs. Again, without examining the building, it is not possible to state definitively, but even considering the building’s condition, the rents *appear* on the cheap side.

    ——————————————————————-
    I’m not sure that okaying two years of 10% rent increases held down rents.

    Then what kept rents below market, if not that?

    ————————————————————————

    If people don’t receive 10% COL increases, 10% annual rent increases amount to a de facto eviction.

    That is quite a leap of logic and a condition that applies to almost no one.

    ——————————————————————————

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 9:23 am

  16. 4, 5: Dave and BKJ, your comments seem–at least to this reader–to assume one or more of the following:

    a) Alameda should not have–or does not want–any poor people within its borders

    b) Lower-income renters should be OK with paying nearly all of their monthly income in rent ($1735 versus $1064) instead of “only” 40 to 60 per cent of it.

    c) There is, in fact, someplace where these evicted renters can, in fact, afford to move without losing jobs, family ties, and more (a questionable assumption at best)

    d) Removing students from their classes and school communities has no negative effects, either on the evicted students or on their friends who lose their companionship

    e) Below-market (translation = affordable) rents are bad

    Jon Spangler you are O for 5

    A) I’m Low Income

    B) I have had to tap my Savings and so called Retirement to make Rent Payments.

    C) Is Bad Assumption

    D) I’m a strong advocate for helping low income students and spending money directly on the kids.

    Stated here hundreds of times.

    E) Bad assumption.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  17. How long did Lucas serve? And did she jump (didn’t want to get involved in anything that might lead to rent control) or was she pushed (her toxicity became too apparent)?

    Comment by BC — November 17, 2015 @ 9:37 am

  18. What does bother me is No One including yourself mentions anything about lining the Pockets of CalPERS and CALSTRS during the worst financial Disaster to hit our Country on the backs of the poor homeowners who got hosed during the financial meltdown………..How come these homeowners weren’t offered their homes back at 10-20 or 30% of what Calpers and Calsters paid?

    Certainly pays to be BIG Donors of Politicians…….You wonder why California Teachers ASSOC and California Employees are Number #1 and #2…….While everyone else bends OVER.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 9:42 am

  19. The idea that a long term tenant in an unit must be brought up to “market” whenever the market changes (which is based on “asking rents” from vacant units) is probably the most problematic assumption when we are examining what is happening to real families that are facing eviction. That somehow “below market” rents are some sort of noblesse oblige that must be celebrated.

    One thing that Trish Spencer’s RRAC appointee did have right is that there is relationship between a tenant and a landlord. At one point, the rents were at market and sufficient for the landlord to have their ledgers pencil out properly. Simply because an unit down the street is now being rented out for double doesn’t mean that expenses have suddenly increased exponentially and — I’ll point out — there are mechanisms in rent control legislation that allow for rent increases based on capital improvements.

    According to Karin Lucas’s resignation letter she resigned because she thought that she might be “too controversial” because she is actively working with other small property owners against rent control and against just cause evictions.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  20. 19

    Ever ask for a raise?

    Ever turn one down?

    Ever ask for your pay to be cut?

    When you sell eventually sell your house, how much will you discount the price from neighborhood comps in the name of “affordability.”

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 9:48 am

  21. Here’s a good option.
    http://www.homefinder.com/CA/Lodi/N-Ham-Ln-66-128845216d

    Comment by jack — November 17, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  22. The property sold. New owner obviously does not know what is happening in Alameda and the Bay Area or just does not care. Listing indicated great upside in rents. I think whomever purchased it made a huge mistake.

    Comment by memesuz — November 17, 2015 @ 10:09 am

  23. 20. Ever want good quality of life for yourself?

    Ever want good quality of life for your family?

    Ever want to keep existing legislation to artificially constrain the housing market so that you can maintain your quality of life?

    When your quality of life is threatened by too much development, what will you do at that point?

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 10:11 am

  24. 23

    Ever want good quality of life for yourself?
    Yes. I pay good money for the best I can get.

    Ever want good quality of life for your family?
    Yes, same.

    Ever want to keep existing legislation to artificially constrain the housing market so that you can maintain your quality of life?
    I support zoning that keeps our unique way of life that benefits everyone who lives here.

    When your quality of life is threatened by too much development, what will you do at that point?
    If I don’t like a place, I don’t live there.

    Now please answer what I asked in #20. I’m really interested in hearing why your livelihood should be freed while landlords’ shouldn’t be.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  25. 22) The New Owner will also have to pay the 100-200% increases in City Permit and Building Fees during remodel that were instituted about 12 months ago. I’m sure that will increase the rent. The same minds that are trying to slow rental costs and housing costs have been jacking up fees at at the city 500% times the consumer price index. Interesting situation.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  26. 22

    Bingo. That explains a lot. I hadn’t known that, after your post I googled it:

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/470-Central-Ave-Alameda-CA-94501/82846625_zpid/

    I agree that the purchaser is either either ignorant or reckless. Their actions are legal and should be legal, but to do so while rent control is the issue of the day is tactically really stupid. It’s just asking for tighter controls than would have been enacted w/o it.

    I bet most other owners are really pissed at these people…..

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 10:24 am

  27. The “market rate” only holds up if a specific amount of units are available at any given time. If every Alameda, or bay area for that matter, unit that had “below market” rents went on the market right now during this boom, the “market rate” would fall precipitously.
    The price goes up and stays up only because good landlords like Kate Quick maintain stability for large portions of the renting public, in order for vultures like the new owner of 470 Central (RRAC worked so well the previous owner walked and let someone else do the dirty work) to exercise some level of monopolistic control in a tight market and extract the highest rents w/ no regard for social welfare.

    Comment by BMac — November 17, 2015 @ 10:41 am

  28. 19. The internal contradictions of Spencer’s coalition of the angry are starting to show. Its members are not all angry about the same things. Pitchforks may prove to be a single-use election platform.

    Comment by BC — November 17, 2015 @ 10:42 am

  29. Ever ask for a raise?

    No

    Ever turn one down?

    No.

    Ever ask for your pay to be cut?

    No.

    When you sell eventually sell your house, how much will you discount the price from neighborhood comps in the name of “affordability.”

    I don’t ever intend on selling my house because I plan on living there forever. Mwahahahah!

    Rent control is not asking for someone’s pay to be cut, it’s the expectation that if someone (corporations are people too!) is in the business of providing shelter for someone else it’s not akin to putting your dollars into a stock market. Your “investment” is not just an investment in brick and timber, but in people’s lives and their homes. If those someones don’t understand that and can’t be “reasonable” (however that is defined) with rent increases and how evictions are doled then the government must step in and define that for the community.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 10:48 am

  30. 27

    Are you saying Quick should jack up her rates to maintain an orderly market?

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 10:48 am

  31. Rent control is not asking for someone’s pay to be cut

    ——

    Oh really?

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  32. Oh really?

    Yes, really.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  33. 32
    If that’s how you look at it, this conversation needs to end. What good is eyesight to the willfully blind?

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 11:00 am

  34. 30. No. Next stupid question.

    Comment by BMac — November 17, 2015 @ 11:07 am

  35. Dave haven’t you heard.

    In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is violently executed.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 11:12 am

  36. 34

    Sure reads like it. Please enlighten me.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 11:15 am

  37. Why most with any common sense stay out of Shark Tank at Bayport.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 11:16 am

  38. If that’s how you look at it, this conversation needs to end. What good is eyesight to the willfully blind?

    Cool. Because you seem to consistently ignore the human aspect to all this. Empathy is a learned skill I suppose.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 11:19 am

  39. 25) should read

    The same minds that are trying to slow rental costs and housing costs have been jacking up fees at at the city 5000% times the consumer price index. Interesting situation.

    Not 500%

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  40. Every single business on this island and indeed in this world has a human aspect to it. A grocery store is a prized asset for its owner and supplier of sustenance for its customers, for example. I don’t choose one legitimate business over another. Common sense is a learned skill, I suppose.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 11:28 am

  41. Where is the Empathy from the City when it comes to raising Fees driving homeowners to sell when they can’t afford the increases in Remodeling with permits and building fees skyrocketing?

    Good If City Raises Fees 5000% times CPI

    Bad if Homeowner Raises rent 10%

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 11:32 am

  42. Rent control won’t happen in Alameda unless it goes on the ballot. Historically, renters don’t vote, and property owners (some “housing providers”) vote. Karin Lucas and her friends are the ones who contribute to Trish’s and other campaigns because renters can’t afford to contribute.

    Comment by Cindy — November 17, 2015 @ 11:33 am

  43. Common sense is a learned skill, I suppose.

    I know! Common sense would tell one that if you have a limited supply (housing) you meet the demand (build housing). Unfortunately, we don’t do that, but then just expect people to suck up their rent increases or just move away. Their quality of life doesn’t matter because they don’t have enough money for their quality of life to be important.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2015 @ 11:39 am

  44. 42. Historically, renters (on average, compared to property owners) are not engaged politically on local issues. That is not the case now and will not be the case as there is a strong grassroots organizing effort taking place at the moment. I also wonder how quickly the new motor voter law will have an effect on who is registered and can be dragged to the polling place on election day.

    Comment by BMac — November 17, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  45. The only ones who Contribute Heavily In Campaigns are the Firemans Union and Employee Unions…(Past City Manager to get his New City Manager Position back in 2010)…. They Didn’t contribute to Trish and they control the elections.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  46. I am rather curious as to why Dave is so very interested in whether or not the rents at the aforementioned apartment complex are below “market rate” or not. Lemme’ take a big guess… you have your house already? Its always so very, very easy to comment on other people’s situations in such a casual fashion isn’t it?

    Comment by deertick — November 17, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

  47. #42 If the did they didn’t contribute much. Have you ever looked at the Contributions from the last election? http://thealamedan.org/news/election-2014-island-committee-makes-chen-contributions-king

    Comment by frank m — November 17, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

  48. 45. It sounds like the unions’ contributions were not able to control this council except for Oddie when you look at the filings. The point is renters typically have an uphill battle in Alameda, even when they are over 50% of the population, because they are not often engaged politically. 44. is saying that is going to change in the next election, and that may be why Karen Lucas has to organize the landlords to oppose rent control.

    Comment by Cindy — November 17, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  49. 46

    I do own a home, yes. But the the reason I focus on that is a belief in free markets and a dislike for one perfectly legitimate & legal business being demonized while others are given a pass. And no, I’m not in that business.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  50. Well good for you. I own a home too. I actually “own” it since I bought it for cash after the bubble burst.

    But moving on, to address your “concern” over this issue is in preserving a sort of “free market” then your concerns are for naught. A free market economy doesn’t exist in this country and all one has to do is look at the national tax codes, regulations, and the various exemptions made to an endless list of entities, enterprises, and going concerns to see that the market is far from fair or balanced.

    Thus I have a hard time believing such lofty proclamations as such a standard does not exist and therefore not applicable in such debates.

    Comment by deertick — November 17, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  51. 50

    Is any market in America *completely* unregulated? None I can think of.

    But most market prices for most goods & services are mostly determined by supply and demand and there is a wealth of data that demonstrates this is the most fair way of setting prices. We have regulations, restrictions, etc in our housing market in Alameda, yet the significant price swings of the last decade+ in response to changes in supply & demand demonstrate that it is a relatively free market. If I recall, you posted the other day on such things, and it was a thoughtful post. I agreed with your conclusion that prices are volatile and will likely correct in the future. I do not understand why this dynamic that you accurately described is not applicable to this issue.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

  52. My point being that you seem to be trying to apply strictly rational economics ( which I pointed out is more or less like looking for a unicorn ) to something that has never been tied to anything really rational and remove all emotional aspects to that issue: housing

    Let me cut to the chase here. Human emotion has every bit as much to do with the application of economics and to try and remove it from a conversation such as this one proves counter-intuitive. If you don’t believe me then take your pick of any industry or company whom either broke a regulation or who’s CEO might have made a gaff at a meeting: that company’s stock often times reacts one way or another to those actions and in those cases the reaction was based on emotion and nothing more.

    That there are open discussions happening now around the bay area about the high cost of housing doesn’t mean such debates are unproductive. These sorts of conversations can in turn be influential. Perfect example? The aforementioned housing bubble. While there were definitely cold hard economic factors at play the general public had already been talking “bubble” for almost a year and it was that change in attitude that in many ways caused buyers to lose their appetites and zeal for buying.

    Why else do you think that one of the leading factors for economic data is the consumer sentiment index? Again, it all has to do with emotion.

    Comment by deertick — November 17, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  53. Something like SF’s Prop A is perhaps something we should consider. We definitely need to look at alternative ways to support affordable housing:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Affordable-housing-measure-leads-in-S-F-6609195.php

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 17, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  54. I don’t believe one could credibly argue that emotion affects markets, particularly on the demand side. Emotion most assuredly affected demand in the last housing bubble, as you state. But supply is supply and demand is demand, and the two make a price. Whether they are fueled by emotion of the effects of bat guano on wheat crops is of much less concern.

    When rents fell, there was no call for rent control for landlords. It would have been laughed off as an irrational and unfair intervention that would have long lasting negative effects. Rents rising is a justification (for some) to intervene in an equally irrational and unfair way that will have long lasting negative effects. Such things are a two way street and attempting to make just a 1 way will compound the problem it attempts to solve.

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 1:59 pm

  55. dammit, ANOTHER typo: I don’t believe one could credibly argue that emotion *DOESN’T* affect markets

    Comment by dave — November 17, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  56. In 2012 I was offered a free months rent to move in , equal to 1180 @ the time for a six month lease.

    Also just helped friend do cleanup after renter moved out. 4500 in repairs and 2 months lost rent for her which she needs for income to live.

    It’s not always a cakewalk being a landlord.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

  57. dave, you still are having trouble understanding the fundamental difference of the two sides. Once again, many people are in favor of this market intervention because instinctively they believe in the human right to a basic quality of life in the form of shelter, food, healthcare, etc. Intervening on behalf of landlords is not “equally irrational and unfair” because landlords (almost all) are operating above this theoretical threshold of basic quality of life. Changes to their marginal income will not induce the same ill social effects as it does for the family of 5 living in a one bedroom apartment.

    That you don’t believe this is sufficient reason to intervene in this market is your choice. Stop being so obtuse.

    Government has failed to provide this basic necessity, by limiting the market’s ability to respond to increased demand (high prices) by building enough supply (hello land use restrictions.) Rent stabilization is one imperfect method for solving for the market inefficiency created by government policy. It can improve social welfare of the community, given the existing market distortions and failures.

    Comment by BMac — November 17, 2015 @ 4:02 pm

  58. In 2006 I did work for a long time apartment building owner who was improving his buildings in order to divest after owning them for years. He got stuck with the one I was working on because of the economy but he owned some classic buildings which were built as apartments. I don’t know what he was asking for these buildings, but I asked him how the buyers could afford to make payments without drastically increasing the rents. He said they typically paid a lot of cash and that the investments were long term. I’ve noticed that one of them has had a for rent sign for months, which it hasn’t previously since it sold in 2006. It’s at 1539 Encinal. Chung Investment is trying to get $2350 for each of two 2 bedroom vacant apartments. Since they were built as apartments in a Victorian building my guess is that the space is pretty nice, though there is no way to account for the vintage of the kitchens or bathrooms. I noted a significant electrical service upgrade when they sold. It’s interesting to note that the rents must be steep enough that they haven’t been snapped up, yet the rental agent tactic is to not lower the rent .

    In this discussion there has been endless references to the current “market rates” for rents. There is the high end of what people will pay out of desperation and then various degrees beneath that down to what reasonable landlords are willing to accept. In the discussion we tend to accept the term “market rates” for the purpose of discourse, but we could use other terms, like “distorted rental rates” rather than “current”. I think the term “market rates” tends to legitimize the high water mark, as in “free market” which is the Holy Grail of capitalism, but if the greater number of renters are drowning maybe we should discuss alternate terminology. One straw short of breaking renters backs is not legitimate.

    Comment by MI — November 17, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

  59. I live across the street from said apartment building. It is an eyesore. Buildings located so close to the water are very hard to maintain, due to moisture problems. How on earth is a new owner supposed to renovate the apartment building while tenants are occupying it? The building is in desperate need of repair. I am sure that it, nonetheless, sold for a ridiculous amount of money and will cost a ridiculous amount to renovate. However, the buyer is now set to recoup his losses by charging more for rent. That is the way of the world. Alameda schools will benefit from the increased tax revenue.

    Comment by Michelle — November 17, 2015 @ 7:36 pm

  60. 59. they might get some increased tax revenue, but will likely lose lots of funding due to loss of students. A newly renovated waterfront complex of 1 bedroom, *full price* apartments is not likely to have many school aged children.

    Comment by BMac — November 17, 2015 @ 7:53 pm

  61. The City Recieves transfer tax on the sale of 470 Central 67,100.

    The new owner will pay about 82,000 a year in Property taxes.

    Our City Transfer Tax is 2200% higher than 97% of California Cities.

    If Labor Costs to build rose at same rate as building fees and permits a construction worker would make about 4 Mil a year.

    If housing costs rose at same rate of building fees and permits , average house in Alameda would be about 30 Million.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 10:07 pm

  62. Permit and Building fees for the remodel will probably run another million.

    The same minds that are trying to slow rental costs and housing costs have been jacking up fees at at the city 5000% times the consumer price index.

    So who needs monitoring……. The people jacking up these fees that have huge effect on peoples rent and owning a piece of property or the people that need to pass on these expenses to a renter.

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 17, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

  63. Cobalt, blame prop 13. Gotta fund the city from somewhere.

    Comment by BMac — November 18, 2015 @ 8:31 am

  64. Bmac but we want to blame the wicked owners and landlords.

    The new owner of 470 Central will have to charge 1974.75 a month just to break even per unit.

    Present renters I have huge empathy for, but these new owners are filling our City Coffers to the tune of a million plus and adding about 500 a month to the renters cost per month.

    Tough Situation.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 18, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  65. So now a new Renter will be paying at 470 Central …… 200 a month towards Property Tax.

    Now a new renter at 470 Central will be paying 500 a month towards Local Tax which were Fees and permits charged to owner.

    So basically 33 percent of rent will be taxes in future.

    Becoming a much larger percent for those renting.

    700 a month just in taxes.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 18, 2015 @ 9:48 am

  66. 65: see comment 63.

    Comment by BC — November 18, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

  67. I try to keep from personalizing things too much in local politics, but it’s hard to stay away from that on this issue. With regard to Mayor Spencer, any sincerity she shows toward the plight of renters (which isn’t all that much) shows itself to completely bogus for a couple of reasons.

    First, perhaps she doesn’t realize how damaging it is for her when she brags about attending ‘every meeting of the RRAC.” That she attends religiously means that she has had a front row seat each time the RRAC has unanimously approved 10% rent increases. Obviously, this is okay because she’s been mum about it all along.

    Second, and more recently, is her (failed) appointment of Karin Lucas to the RRAC. Lucas, as it turned out, has been a vocal anti-renter bulldog for her entire political career. It’s strains all credibility that the mayor could not know this about Lucas and is more likely the mayor was hoping Lucas could help keep the lid on the RRAC. Well, the lid and the wheels are all coming off the RRAC with the mayor promising to be in the front row for it.

    But, seriously, local politics in Alameda are disgustingly petty, mean and completely captured by the ‘professional class’ and the rest of us are simply smarmy little ATMs.

    #59 Michelle: may I propose that you move instead of advocating the eviction of the 33 families that live across the street from you? smh

    Comment by John K — November 18, 2015 @ 2:05 pm

  68. Nothing is more “Disgustingly Petty” is people like you John K making chicken shit comments.

    This problem is a mess inherited by Spencer and she is trying to find a solution.

    She is hardworking ,authentic, and a sincere person with tons of empathy who cares about the people of this city from all walks of life.

    This issue is a US issue that is dividing us more than ever with our monetary policies.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 18, 2015 @ 2:39 pm

  69. #68: CBKJ: Thanks for that and for reminding me why I don’t like to personalize politics. Have a nice day.

    Comment by John K — November 18, 2015 @ 2:43 pm

  70. John K you said you don’t like to “personalize politics” and go on to personally criticize Spencer .

    So you act different from what you say.

    I get it.

    Have a great night !

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — November 18, 2015 @ 5:38 pm

  71. I am so glad you figured it out because I would not want you or anyone to be confused by all of this rhetoric…lord no! Peas out….

    Comment by John K — November 18, 2015 @ 6:10 pm

  72. Here is a Dear John letter for you. No I will not move. As a property owner I pay for everything you hold dear, City Sewer Service $287.00, $298, to Alameda Hospital every year, various East Bay Trails,vector control, Alameda School tax measures, $134.00, paramedic, $29.00, AC Transit $96.00,, which I use and pay $4.00 a day to use anyway. Lead abatement, hazardous waste control, mosquito assessment, Ebmud wet weather, $89.00, park safety, $12.00. Urban runoff to the tune of $56.00, Peralta College District, $48.00. Most Renters still pay much less than homeowners do their mortgages minus the taxes that keep the cities running. Add to the cost all the renters who have children and add the school costs and the tax breaks parents receive and I will tell you to screw off. I scrimp and save to own my 420 sq foot cottage. I have made a lot of sacrifices to own it and I am staying put! You go ahead and move and good to riddance to you!

    Comment by Michelle — November 18, 2015 @ 8:53 pm

  73. I’m sorry…you are so right. None of your neighbors across the street work hard, scrimp and save or pay taxes. Five people in a one bedroom is pure luxury – how dare they exist?

    Comment by John K — November 18, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  74. Michelle, let’s set aside the fact that the rents renters pay cover their landlords pay. There are people who pay lots more in taxes than you. Are they entitled to look down on you with the same nasty condescension with which you look down on your (financially) poorer neighbors?

    Comment by BC — November 19, 2015 @ 6:48 am


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