BERKELEY (KPIX) — Affordable student housing is extremely hard to find in Berkeley. Now the Berkeley Student Cooperative fears one of its most affordable complexes will be forced to raise rents.
BSC is about to lose its lease of Rochdale where hundreds of students reside and, on Friday night, the cooperative held a rally.
“The only way to extend our lease is that we find a retrofit that’s expected to cost 20 million dollars,” said Rafael Grillo Avila with the Berkeley Student Cooperative.
Grillo Avila says 80 percent of the residents in the units are first-generation, low-income students. If BSC has to pay for the seismic retrofit, rates may go from $2,700 per semester to $4,200.
“The fact that Rochdale was cheap rent and was the cheapest in the area just helped me get through college in a mildly sustainable manner,” said Vee Nedeltchev, a Rochdale resident.
BSC is hoping the university will pick up the cost of the retrofit but the university says that’s not part of the long-standing deal to operate the housing complex.
“A term of the lease — again it goes back 50 years — is that we basically provide them the land at no cost. So all of the operation and maintenance of those buildings is fully the responsibility of the Berkeley Student Cooperative,” Kyle Gibson, UC Berkeley director of communications, told KPIX.
Both sides are hopeful they can come up with an agreement so BSC can continue to offer affordable housing to students. UC Berkeley needs to make sure it’s safe for students to stay.
“It’s the responsibility of the university that the buildings on its land meet seismic standards and our seismic standards are UC system-wide,” Gibson said.
Source : https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/04/29/seismic-retrofit-may-shake-students-out-of-affordable-housing-uc-berkeley/