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?
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.
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.
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.
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.