Housing burden: All residents should have access to quality, affordable homes.

Key Trends in the Bay Area

  • Since 2000, rent burdens have risen dramatically in the region and statewide. Half of Bay Area renters are rent-burdened.
  • Low-income, Black, Latinx, Native American, and female renters are more likely to be rent-burdened.
  • Solano and Sonoma Counties have the highest levels of rent burden in the region.
  • Black and Latinx homeowners are the most likely to be cost-burdened of all racial groups.
  • Homeowner cost burden rose steeply between 2000 and 2010, partly due to the predatory lending crisis.

Drivers of Inequity

Historically, the appropriation of land from Indigenous people and explicitly discriminatory policies like redlining and restrictive covenants created inequitable access to quality affordable homes in neighborhoods with good schools, parks, access to transit, and other ingredients for social and economic success. Today’s rising housing burdens, especially among renters, are caused by skyrocketing rents and stagnant wages for all but the highest earners. Housing production has not kept up with job growth and there is a dire shortage of affordable homes and a lack of financing to build them. Meanwhile, the tech boom precipitated an influx of highly paid knowledge-economy workers and put enormous pressure on the housing market, driving up rents and home prices. Rent stabilization can moderate rent increases, but these policies only cover about a quarter of Bay Area rental homes and are restricted to older, multifamily buildings by the state's Costa Hawkins law. 

Strategies

Strengthen places: Strategies to ensure affordable homes for all

Strategy in Action

Strong tenant protections come to Contra Costa County. In 2016, Richmond passed the Fair Rent, Just Cause for Eviction and Homeowner Protection Ordinance — the first rent-control law in Contra Costa County. The comprehensive measure includes both rent control and just cause eviction, which makes no-fault evictions costlier for landlords. The law fully covers over 9,000 units in the city and another 10,000 are partially covered. State law prohibits rent control in single-family homes, but the Richmond measure does include eviction controls for single-family units and condos. Learn more.

In Their Own Words...

“ For me, as a mom, it was very positive my children didn’t have to move constantly.”

— Evangelina Lara, Oakland

Rent control has allowed Evangelina Lara and her family to live in the same apartment in Oakland's San Antonio neighborhood for 20 years. Recently, a large corporation bought the building and sought to evict all the tenants by illegally raising the rent and then flipping their units. Using protections under the rent control law, with support from Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Evangelina and her neighbors successfully fought the rent increases and were able to maintain their affordable rents and stay in the city.

 

Photo: Felix Uribe

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