Opponents of statewide bill to cap rent increases call it “disincentive” to build

Lawmakers, including those in LA, continue to pursue tenant protections following Prop 10’s defeat last year

May.May 30, 2019 10:00 AM
Assemblymember David Chui
Assemblymember David Chui

Ever since Proposition 10 failed at the ballot box in November, municipalities and counties around the state — including Los Angeles — have been enacting more tenant protections, including temporary freezes on rent hikes.

Now, the state Assembly passed a bill for a statewide cap on rent increases, after advocates agreed to soften the bill and impose a three-year limit on the cap, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Assembly Bill 1482, authored by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chui, now goes to the Senate, which has until September to pass it. The bill would bar landlords from raising annual rents by more than 7 percent plus inflation, according to the Times.

Landlords and allies say a rent cap will discourage developers from building and therefore exacerbate the state’s housing crisis. L.A. County alone needs more than half a million affordable units to meet demand.

One of those allies is Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore). She called the bill “a disincentive for people to build. And what we need is to build,” according to the Times.

Earlier this month, the Senate shelved SB 50, a bill that would have upzoned residential parcels near transit statewide to encourage housing development. Opponents, including L.A., said it would take power out of the local authority.

The rent cap is a key component of most rent regulation packages. A number of L.A.-area municipalities have instituted rent caps and other tenant protections since Prop 10 was defeated last year. That statewide ballot measure would have overturned rent regulation restrictions passed in California in the 1990s. Real estate spent tens of millions of dollars to fight the bill.

The Assembly did not vote on a companion bill to bar “no just cause” evictions. That bill has a Friday deadline for passage. [LAT]Dennis Lynch 

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