Author: Jacob

The Bay Area is seeing a record increase in rents

The Bay Area is seeing a record increase in rents

A South Bay man accepted hundreds of offers from open houses. But the homes weren’t for sale, they were for lease, and soon he learned a bad thing about being a landlord: you don’t have to accept.

The Bay Area Renters’ Association, a tenants’ rights organization, claims that in the past two years, the Bay Area has seen a record increase in rent increases. In the Bay Area, landlords have been able to raise rents by as much as $120 over the previous three years.

However, many tenants aren’t able to negotiate for a lower rent, while others are not given an opportunity to choose, according to a new study released today by the Bay Area Renters’ Association.

“We have not been given an opportunity to negotiate as a tenant,” said David O’Keefe, a former tenant and founding member of the Bay Area Renters’ Association. “They’ve been able to raise rents in this case by a third. We’re not allowed to bargain. We’re not allowed to say ‘I want a lower rental rate,’ but we’re not allowed to be able to refuse,” he said.

O’Keefe, along with Bay Area Renters’ Association president David Farkas, are calling on the state Board of Equalization to investigate the issue of rising rents in the Bay Area, and explore options for tenants and landlords that can reduce rent increases.

In 2011, the average rent in the Bay Area was $2,839. In 2012, it was $4,094, according to the state Board of Equalization. It’s even higher than that in other San Francisco and Los Angeles cities. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,828 and that’s for a two-bedroom apartment at $3,079.

“Rental affordability is not only a concern to the Bay Area but to the entire country,” said Bay Area Renters’ Association board member Ed O’Keefe. “The government has not done enough to solve this problem and we’re going to the state Board of Equalization to get answers.”

In other parts of the country, the rent increases were nowhere near this degree. For example, a rent increase of $110 is a far cry from the 10-20 percent increase in the Bay Area. However, in many cities

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