Saturday, April 02, 2016

Resurgent Housing Market Continues Fueling Mass Evictions As Investors Snap Up Aging Apartment Buildings, Then Jack Up Rents To Unaffordable Levels For Existing Tenants; Local Legal Aid Head: "We Are Seeing Unprecedented Wipeouts Of Low-Income Tenant Complexes"

In Sonoma County, California, The Press Democrat reports:
  • Anahi Cisneros, a business major at Sonoma State University and the first in her family to attend college, is trying to focus on her studies. Instead, she has spent most days for the past month and a half helping her parents search for a new apartment after they received an eviction notice in February.

    The family’s search in Sonoma County’s increasingly tight rental market has been frenetic.

    “We don’t know where we’re going to go,” said Cisneros, 19, whose family is one of eight being evicted from a small apartment complex in Petaluma. “We’ve been looking but we can’t find anything. We’re all really stressed out.”

    The families, many of whom have lived in the eight-unit complex for more than a decade, said they were not given a reason when asked to leave.

    “I didn’t move out, I was kicked out. I don’t know why. I’m a good tenant,” said Jesus Torres, 69, who lived with his wife in their apartment at 200 Walnut St. for nearly 42 years until this month. “I thought I was going to die in that apartment.”

    The tenants — most of whom are Latino — said a new owner raised their rents by about $700 shortly after buying the apartment complex in mid-December. Tenants were then served 60-day notices to vacate their apartments on Feb. 2, even if they were willing to pay the higher rents, according to tenants who shared copies of the eviction notice.

    The new property owner, listed as Milad Sabetimani on a notification delivered to the tenants, did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

    The move underscores a growing trend in Sonoma County’s resurgent housing market, where investors have been snapping up apartment buildings and raising rents, local real estate agents and housing rights attorneys said.

    We are seeing unprecedented wipeouts of low-income tenant complexes — often substandard, and often immigrant-occupied,” said Ronit Rubinoff, executive director of Legal Aid of Sonoma County, a program that offers free legal advice to renters. “Tenants are being turned out all at once in order to raise rents and in many cases, people are being issued eviction notices on top of huge rent increases.”

    Sales of apartment buildings in Sonoma County have risen significantly since the depths of the recession, said Scott Gerber, managing director for San Rafael-based Bradley Real Estate. Nearly 200 apartment buildings, totaling 3,729 units, have been sold in Sonoma County since 2013, he said. [more]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home