You’ve read about it in the news. Low income tenants being evicted in the Mission District and the Castro, making way for those with high incomes who can afford astronomical rents.
It could happen to you
Maybe you think that you won’t be evicted, since you don’t live in those neighborhoods. Are you sure? The researchers at the Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley say that the gentrification movement isn’t even half over. Based on trends they’ve been following, rising housing prices are going to force more low-income residents further and further into the outer suburbs.
A driving force
The Urban Displacement Project is funded in part by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, who were interested in finding out how building rail lines affected displacement of low-income units. Rail lines, even those in the planning stage, increase desirability and make housing prices increase.
One of the lessons learned from looking at the Bay Area is that at least until 2013, the latest data the researchers studied, some areas such as East Palo Alto, Marin County, and San Francisco’s Chinatown have been stable. Part of this is due to tenant protections like “just cause” evictions, rent control, and strong organization by the communities.
Look at the Urban Displacement Project’s map of your neighborhood to see its stage of gentrification. The researchers have not yet considered the more recent trends of short term rentals from companies like Airbnb. This might well skew the results.
Being evicted, but you don’t think it’s fair? You might consider talking to an experienced tenant lawyer about the specifics of your case. Know your rights. Protect yourself.