Evictions are Making Us Sick, Repeal Costa-Hawkins Now!

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By Tony Robles, Housing Organizer, Senior and Disability Action

(Editor's Note:  Part of our November meeting will be a presentation and discussion regarding the effort to repeal Costa-Hawkins.  Speakers will be Lorraine Petty (active with Senior and Disability Action Housing Committee and with D5 Action), and possibly Joe Smooke (Director of the Housing Rights Committee's counseling and community organizing program for the Richmond and Inner Sunset).  Tony Robles will also be in attendance.)

Evictions and displacement of tenants in San Francisco have caused serious problems—homelessness, health impacts, people sleeping in cars and, in the most extremes cases, death.  Rampant real estate speculation has led to tenant harassment and eviction.  Fraudulent owner move-ins, harassment, Ellis Act evictions—all of these methods are employed to extricate long term tenants from their communities and homes—and to, ultimately, undermine rent control.  


California has the highest poverty rate in the nation when the cost of housing is factored in.  2.5 million Californians have been forced to leave the state in search of affordable housing. Cities’ ability to strengthen and or introduce rent control protections are severely hindered by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Act of 1995, a state law that protects landlord profits, not people. 

Costa-Hawkins does not afford cities the ability to extend rent control to single family homes, condos and other properties where one unit is separately owned.  It also does not allow vacancy control, which means that while someone occupies a unit, their rent increases are limited, but once a tenant moves--with limited exceptions--the landlord can increase the rent to any amount. This incentivizes corporate landlords such as Greentree to evict tenants and increase rents. 

Earlier this year, assembly bill 1506 was introduced by Assemblyman Bloom (D-Santa Monica) calling for repeal of Costa-Hawkins.  An informational hearing on the severe housing crisis in California was convened in the Assembly Housing Committee on October 24th, chaired by the bill’s co-sponsor David Chiu.  Testimony by tenants, health professionals, and educators gave voice to the impacts of displacement on people’s health, on students, and on seniors.  University researchers also testified to the connection between housing and health and how displacement damages people’s lives and the fabric of community. 

Tenant groups across the state are asking for a vote to get this bill out of committee and to the full house.  Please help by contacting Assemblyman Chiu’s office.  Do you want real rent control in San Francisco?  Costa-Hawkins, a statewide law, is limiting our rent control, and we need to tell our assembly members to take action on AB 1506, the bill to repeal Costa Hawkins. 

Call or email Assembly member Chiu:  916-319-2017; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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