Tenant Jujitsu: Renters Fight Back in San Francisco, And Win

Shelterforce, as many of you know, began as a tenant organizing newspaper. Though we've evolved to cover a much wider range of topics, both within and beyond affordable housing, we have a sweet spot in our hearts for a good scrappy fight between tenants and real estate speculators, organized people vs organized money.

San Francisco has been delivering for us recently on that score.

First they passed a new affordable housing trust fund in the midst of a recession. And now they took a bill that was going surreptitiously turn thousands of rent-controlled apartments in the 2nd most expensive city in the country into rent-control-free condominiums and reworked it into something that actually includes some tenant wins and increases affordable housing production. The amended bill won with a veto-proof margin last night. 

Now that's the kind of story we love to report, and we're glad that we can offer you this careful description of the history of the fight and how the compromise was reached from two of the activists involved. Keep your eyes on San Francisco. If rents keep rising in other areas, San Francisco's renters may not be the only ones also rising to organize again.

(Graphic by Melissa Klein.)

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Miriam Axel-Lute is CEO/editor-in-chief of Shelterforce. She lives in Albany, New York, and is a proud small-city aficionado.


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