If you’ve been following us for any length of time, we’re probably preaching to the choir now when we say that tenant rights advocates have sometimes mischaracterized the overwhelming majority of responsible rental property owners. In framing the conversation on how to solve the Bay Area housing crisis, we believe it’s not productive to put an inordinate amount of blame or burden on any one group.

In our last post, we reported that Silicon Valley has been urged to do more to house its burgeoning workforce, and it is doing its part. If it is difficult for high-tech companies to put a dent in the housing shortage, it is that much more difficult for mom-and-pop landlords to solve the intractable problem of affordable housing. These predominantly responsible, studious rental unit owners are being saddled with rising costs, just like everyone else.

Our conclusion? Rather than penalizing landlords, we should come together to focus on solutions. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Our area is world-renowned for its innovation. If we conjure up the same level of creativity, perhaps we can finally address the endemic problems.

When city leadership, government leaders and nonprofits get creative and serious about tackling the issues, solutions can take shape. Certainly, there is no silver bullet to solve one of today’s trickiest urban issues, and it requires a holistic approach. This involves inclusionary zoning, removing parking minimums, changing building codes to make it easier to rehab older buildings and new funding models.

Fortunately, we can draw upon the examples of other cities such as Denver, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City. It’s also instructive to study our neighbors to the North – although affordable housing is a local issue, Canada’s well-conceived national policy and funding has made a huge difference there.

This article takes a sampling of other cities to find out what creative solutions they are employing to address the very same problems we are facing in the Bay Area.

Finding creative solutions to landlord-tenant disputes is what the San Francisco real estate attorneys at Bornstein Law have been doing for over 23 years and it is with the same win-win and outside-the-box mentality that we approach the aggregate housing issues that affect our region. But all parties should lower the temperature of the debate and realize that this is not a zero-sum game.


Bornstein Law