Rent Control Measures Advance in California

Charles Fisher Real Estate Leave a Comment

The California Senate has advanced a bill that would bar landlords from raising housing rents more than 5% a year plus inflation and strengthen a provision preventing owners from evicting tenants without “just cause.”

The state Senate voted 25-10 Tuesday to pass Assembly Bill 1482, part of an effort to address California’s increasing housing shortage and affordability crisis.

AB 1482 now moves to the state Assembly, where an earlier version of the legislation faced considerable opposition before narrowly passing on May 30. The bill must clear the Assembly floor before the end of the state Legislature’s session on Friday and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom by Oct. 13 to become law. If enacted, California would become the third state after Oregon and New York to pass statewide rent control bills this year.

The bill faces a potentially significant hurdle in the state Assembly, and comes after a lot of jockeying over the language. The California Apartment Association agreed not to oppose the legislation but the California Association of Realtors, a powerful lobbying force in Sacramento that agreed not to oppose AB 1482 in May, renewed its opposition last month. The decision came after Newsom, Senate leaders and Assemblyman David Chiu, the San Francisco Democrat who sponsored the bill, agreed last month to lower the annual rent cap to 5% from 7% and increase its duration to 10 years from three years under the prior version.

“In the midst of the most intense housing crisis in California history, we must take decisive action to stem the tide of displacement and homelessness,” Chiu said in a statement. “Keeping renters in their homes is crucial to addressing our housing crisis.”

The vote came hours before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to adopt a permanent rent control ordinance for unincorporated areas of the county that limits rent increases to the cost of inflation, with a maximum of 8% per year.

The measure, similar to laws in effect in the cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and West Hollywood, replaces Los Angeles County’s temporary 3% rent cap on apartments at least 24 years old or older that’s been in place for the past year. Formal language for the legislation is being drafted with a final vote scheduled in November.

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Charles Fisher