Oxnard is the latest Southern California city to implement rent control in the face of rising housing costs.
The agricultural center along the coast of Ventura County passed two ordinances that would cap yearly rent increases at 4 percent and establish tenant protections. If the laws pass a second reading, they could go into effect July 1, the Ventura County Star reported.
Those who supported the ordinances argued rent in the city was too high and was keeping families from living in bigger apartments.
Opponents of rent control argued it would drive up landlord costs and push them out of business, making the housing shortage worse.
“I want to make sure there’s no negative repercussions against (residents) in terms of economics, and that really scares me a little bit,” said Councilman Bryan A. MacDonald, the lone dissenter.
Among the dozens of residents to address the City Council prior to the vote, most in favor of rent control seemed to believe the program would help them deal with bad landlords, the newspaper said.
Councilwoman Gabriela Basua was concerned the tenants would be forced out by landlords who retaliate or the apartment building is deemed uninhabitable or “red tagged.”
Additionally, city staff said the rent control program won’t lower current rent prices. The program is estimated to cost the city $1.2 million a year to implement an education campaign and to respond to tenant complaints.
Oxnard’s ordinance is aimed at stabilizing rent prices by capping the maximum amount a landlord can raise rents each year at 4 percent. The rent cap would apply to apartment complexes that are older than 15 years. To conform with state law, the rent cap wouldn’t affect newer apartments, for-rent single-family homes, accessory dwelling units and dormitories.
The ordinance provides an option for landlords to petition the city to raise rents higher than 4 percent for a “fair and reasonable” profit on their property. However, the landlord would pay for the expenses incurred by the city for reviewing the increase.
If its rent control law is made final, Oxnard would join cities across the region to have enacted tenant protections.
The cities of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood have rent control regulations. Last fall, Santa Ana became Orange County’s first city to enact a rent control law. Other jurisdictions have already instituted eviction protections similar to Santa Ana’s, including Los Angeles County, Inglewood, and Culver City.
This month, proponents for rent control in Pasadena have collected more than 15,000 signatures in a bid to put the issue on the November ballot.
[Ventura County Star] – Dana Bartholomew