Peninsula renters priced out of homes face tough rental market

Saturday, May 9, 2015
Peninsula renters priced out of homes face tough rental market
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Peninsula renters are being forced out of their homes after landlords are raise rents and many are having a hard time finding affordable housing.

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- The skyrocketing rents in San Francisco caused by the tech explosion have been well-documented. The same thing is happening on the Peninsula with tenants being told to leave their homes and facing skyrocketing rents.

Demonstrators protested Friday in from of the 73-unit Park Royal Apartments in San Mateo. They want their elected officials on the Peninsula to enact legislation to protect them against higher rents and threats of evictions.

The Dominguez family has lived in the Park Royal Apartments for six years. Seventy-three units in the six buildings are being renovated. Tenants in phases have been given two months to leave. Rents are set to increase by $1,000.

"We cannot afford to go to another place," Dominguez said. "This is getting too expensive for us. It's over 70 families getting evicted here."

A poster that reads, "This is our home. We want to stay," will hang on the balcony of the Redwood City Apartment Gabriel Banuelos, his parents and three siblings currently rent. The owner is renovating the building and jacking up the rents. They've been given 60 days notice to leave their $1,750 two bedroom apartment, but they haven't found another one they can afford.

"We've gone to one place and it's $5,000 for first month's rent and deposit," Banuelos said.

He said his family can't afford that.

The average rent in San Mateo County, according to a recent survey, is about $2,700 a month and growing. Housing activist Aracely Mondragon says the skyrocketing rents are forcing people to move out of county.

"It doesn't only affect families but it also destabilizes the community," said Aracely Mondragon. "When you think of an entire workforce is going through there, what does it do to the community?"

A spokesman for the landlord of Park Royal Apartments said they're helping tenants with their move and that all have moved on their own without any evictions. They say it's unfortunate but not unfair.