Hayward Housing Crisis

On Tuesday, February 6th, Hayward City Council held a special meeting focused on the Hayward Housing crisis. Many renters are facing unlawful evictions and unexplainable rent increases as new management companies are capitalizing on the need for housing as a result of the tech industries new demand. Gentrification is happening now inside of our city; is it too late to respond accordingly?

At the meeting, rent control stabilized rent increases and development of affordable housing was discussed. There will be follow up discussion meeting being held on February, 26th at the Matt Jimenez Center at 28200 Ruus Rd. from 6-8PM. City Manager Kelly McAdoo and City Assistant Manager Kelly Hurtado shared a presentation on what is currently being done and what are some options are for the future.

“Section 8 of the Hayward Rent Stabilization Ordinance should be removed,” Hurtado stated. Referring to legislation that allows owners to “decontrol” units by paying a fee, allowing the property rent to be raised higher than 5% in one year.

Public comments dominated the meeting with at least 30 individuals opening their hearts and sharing frustrations.  One developer asked, “How can I build a 5-unit property for affordable housing when the city of Hayward charges $60,000 per unit before the cost of permits?”
There is a need for multiple solutions for all affected parties. Currently, the average rent in Hayward is affordable to those with an average income of nearly $80,000 when its citizens average about $45,000.

Residents like Maria Segura of the Aloha apartments on Jackson St, stated that she, “is now being charged utilities when she was gone for months and construction was constant.”
The company that owns Mrs. Segura’s apartment, has allegedly practiced unlawful evictions at another apartment, Solis Garden on Harder Rd. They are currently awaiting litigation with 3 remaining tenants.

City Council members Al Mendall and Francisco Zermeno were disgusted at the company that owns Aloha and Solis Garden Apartments. Zermeno asked several questions and shared ideas before putting a hand over his mouth as he said, “this is Shit!” Al Mendall blatantly states, “What the owners of the Aloha and Tiki (now Known as Solis) Gardens are doing is wrong!”

The lack of knowledge of tenants rights seems to be a constant pattern in these evictions. For many who receive an eviction notice or notice of rent increase, stress and compliance follows, instead of asking about the legality of those notices. At this point, tenants make decisions out of fear; they decide to obey the notice whether they understand it is legal or not. These victims are hard working people who may not know their rights and do not have time to research on top of working 40 hours plus and taking care of family.

The City Attorney’s office cannot step in on an eviction but can guide to the correct information and services like Echo Housing, which has faced severe state budget cuts and an increasing workload. Solutions for the housing crisis will require many solutions, including increased support for offices like Echo Housing.Other organizations that specialize in tenants rights and offer support to anyone who believes they might have been served a wrongful eviction include Central Legal and Tenants Together.

If you or someone you love is facing this problem in Hayward please refer them to the Hayward Rental Stabilization Ordinance available online and a special follow up discussion meeting being held on February, 26th at the Matt Jimenez Center at 28200 Ruus Rd. from 6-8PM.The event is calling for all tenants, landlords and management companies to weigh in on how the city can make a decision with everyone in mind.

The Hayward housing crisis is not a tenant vs. landlords situation. The solutions will require both sides working together and persuading the City Council on how to proceed.

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