We need to start solving the housing crisis. It's true - the rent is too damn high. And it's too damn high because Berkeley has not kept up with housing production needs. We don't have to massively change the landscape of Berkeley to provide a variety of housing options. Whether it's a backyard cottage, or "missing middle" housing (house-scale buildings that house multiple units) Berkeley is notorious for blocking attempts to create additional new units. We might have plenty of dense, mid-rise new construction units, but we don't have enough alternative housing. This has resulted in a lack of diversified supply that is driving rents up. It's time we start solving the problem with policy that encourages new supply, not discourages it.
When housing policy starts to constrict an owner's ability to choose how to use their investment, owners are less likely to offer their property for rent. Decades of increased regulation in Berkeley is starting to take its toll. Owners are concerned about the risk they take when renting to a tenant. Add to that the constant barrage of opposition to building additional housing - now you've got a real housing crisis on your hands. We want to create policy that creates a balance so owners are encouraged to put their units on the market, not take them off.
Homeowners make up the bulk of the city's tax base. Increased parcel taxes and other fees not only drive up the cost of living in Berkeley, but they keep some from being able to afford to buy property in Berkeley. Continually taxing homeowners and adding regulations isn't going to magically solve the crisis. Complicated and cumbersome building processes isn't making it any easier either. Whether it's the exorbitant fees tacked onto the cost to build, or increased regulation that causes owners to take their rental units off the market, lack of diversified supply is driving rents up. We need a variety of housing options that meet the needs of our community.
Copyright 2020 Paid for by Bahman Ahmadi for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1431231; McDunn for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1434066; Soulmaz Panahi for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1431229; Wendy Saenz Hood Neufeld for Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board for 2020, FPPC # 1432145; Moldenhawer for Rent Board 2020 FPPC #1432468. Major funding provided by pawel Moldenhawer, Berkeley, $1,000.