Bill Limiting Rent Hikes Clears Another Legislative Hurdle

Closely Watched Legislation Is Among Measures Tackling Affordable Housing Shortage

AUGUST 30, 2019|LOU HIRSH (Via CoStar Group)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has supported legislation aimed at controlling rent increases. (Getty Images)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has supported legislation aimed at controlling rent increases. (Getty Images)

California is barreling toward becoming the third state to pass rent control, as a closely watched state measure limiting rent increases passed a key legislative hurdle.

The California Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday passed Assembly Bill 1482 , by Assemblymember David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat, which would cap annual rent increases and ban landlords from evicting tenants without showing “just cause.”

The measure, passed previously by the Assembly, now goes to the full Senate floor for a vote in early September, and if approved there would head to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has supported the bill. Newsom would have until Oct. 13 to veto or sign the measure into law this year under legislative deadlines.

If enacted, California would become the third state in the country to pass statewide rent control. Oregon became the first state to pass rent control in February, followed by New York in June.

“This bill is crucial to the millions of Californians who are living paycheck to paycheck and are just one rent increase or eviction away from becoming homeless,” Chiu said in a statement after the Appropriations Committee vote. “As this bill moves forward, I will do everything in my power to get it over the line and ensure as many Californians as possible have protections from egregious rent increases and predatory evictions.”

The bill cleared the Assembly in May and subsequently cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure received strong opposition from the California Apartment Association and other real estate groups.

California lawmakers are grappling with the nation’s largest crisis of homelessness, skyrocketing housing prices and a critical shortage of housing for its 40 million residents, more than any other state.

Chiu’s bill, which would expire in 2023 and would not apply to landlords leasing fewer than 10 single-family homes or to properties built in the last decade, would limit rent increases at 7% each year. It would also protect renters from what Chiu describes as “predatory evictions” while still allowing landlords to turn a profit.