Rent is too damned high: State lawmakers propose suite of new regulations

California legislators are proposing a cap on rent hikes and an expansion of eligible units

Mar.March 15, 2019 09:00 AM
California Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica)

Proposition 10 be damned, California lawmakers are moving to enact rent control laws.

State lawmakers unveiled a suite of bills that would cap rent hikes and allow cities to regulate rents on single-family homes and units built as recently as a decade ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The proposed changes would be the most significant to California’s rent regulations in decades, and follow recent moves by several municipalities and Los Angeles County to clamp down on rent hikes.

It also follows a November referendum in which California voters soundly rejected a hotly contested ballot measure, which if passed, would have opened the door to rent control. That ballot measure was known as Proposition 10.

It would have replaced the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995. Among other things, the law bars California counties and municipalities from regulating rents on any units built after 1995, as well as all single-family homes.

The newly-proposed legislation would edit the the Costa-Hawkins law, and if passed, would likely open hundreds of thousands of new units to rent control around the state.

Landlords and others with financial interests in real estate spent tens of millions of dollars to fight the repeal of Prop 10 in what ended up being a successful effort.

These new bills also reach beyond Costa Hawkins.

One would require landlords to prove a “specific and valid reason” to evict a tenant, according to Curbed. The rent cap hasn’t been determined, but would allow for increases with inflation.

The suite of bills mirror recent measures taken local governments around the state, including in the Los Angeles area. Glendale imposed a temporary rent cap and some eviction protections in November. L.A. County capped rents on 50,000 units in unincorporated parts of the county. And Inglewood is now mulling its own rent freeze. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch 

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