California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide.
The bill limits annual rent increases to 5 percent after inflation and offers new barriers to eviction, providing a bit of housing security in a state with the nation’s highest housing prices and a swelling homeless population.
Millions of Californians would receive new protections against large rent increases under an agreement announced late Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.
The deal, which needs the approval of the Legislature in the next two weeks, would cap rent increases statewide at 5% plus inflation per year for the next decade, according to Newsom’s office. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1482, would also include a provision to prevent some evictions without landlords first providing a reason.
Culver City approved a temporary rent control measure early Tuesday morning, joining a handful of other Southern California cities that have boosted tenant protections as the state grapples with an affordability crisis.
The Sacramento City council passed a rent control measure Tuesday night. Mayor Steinberg pushed the ordinance as a way to deal with rising rent and a lack of affordable housing in the area that’s causing a homeless crisis. Renter Rogina Engebretsen was glad to see Sacramento City Council pass the Tenant Protection and Relief Act, which will limit rent increases to no more than six percent each year plus inflation, with a cap at 10%.
California’s charter lobby remains fiercely opposed to far-reaching reforms found in a state Assembly bill. If some public schools advocates have been less than enthusiastic about Governor Gavin Newsom’s attempts to dilute charter school reform legislation, the governor shouldn’t expect any gratitude from California’s charter lobby.
Audrey Jenkins’s apartment isn’t fancy or large. Though she’s had mold and leaks, her place is tidy and packed with almost two decades’ worth of mementos from a full life.
SACRAMENTO — In a dramatic victory for tenant advocates, the California Assembly narrowly passed a statewide rent-cap proposal on Wednesday night amid mounting pressure for lawmakers to protect renters from the steepest of increases in a hot rental market.
“Everyone hates SB 50—everyone hates it,” said California state Sen. Scott Wiener at a recent forum on the state’s housing crisis. “You hear people getting upset about it, yelling about it, coming down to City Hall and yelling.” Flanked by real estate developers and housing rights advocates, Wiener, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, had come to discuss his ideas for solving the problem—which meant talking about the heated reaction to his signature piece of legislation, Senate Bill 50—the housing bill Californians seem to love to hate.
Elizabeth Warren took aim last week at another pillar of Wall Street's empire: the rental housing market. In a portion of her updated version of her ambitious 2018 housing bill, Warren proposed a check on the unregulated takeover of rental housing by the country's biggest investment firms. Instead of allowing Wall Street-backed developers to flip any distressed and foreclosed mortgage into a single-family rental unit, her bill would require the government to help keep the majority of these homes in the possession of individuals, community groups, and affordable-housing developers by setting aside a supply of mortgages that Wall Street can't touch.
Over the last few years, California’s elected officials have finally gotten serious about fixing the housing shortage that is eroding the quality of life here. Lawmakers have passed bills to streamline the development of housing in urban areas and to make it harder for cities to block much-needed housing construction. Voters have approved billions of dollars in new spending to subsidize affordable homes.
SACRAMENTO — The push to expand rent control in California returned to life in the Legislature on Thursday, just months after state voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have removed barriers to new tenant protection laws.
(AP) — California lawmakers are trying again to tamp down rising housing costs by expanding rent control and stopping rental price gouging, warning a failure to act this year could result in another costly ballot measure in 2020.
SACRAMENTO — Four months after California voters rejected an effort to expand rent control, lawmakers are back with a proposal to loosen decades-old restrictions, allowing local governments to place more properties under rent control.
Reporting from Sacramento — In the wake of a failed ballot measure to expand rent control, California Democratic lawmakers are introducing a host of new measures that aim to increase protections for tenants.
Subprime Redux: How a Mom From Van Nuys Is Taking on the Biggest Real Estate Corporations in the Country
Silvia Venegas grew up in Van Nuys. She raised her children there. She calls herself a “typical Latina Valley girl.” And now’s she in a fight the likes of which Los Angeles hasn’t seen since the dark days of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.
Vanessa Bulnes and her husband, Richard, bought their house on 104th Avenue in East Oakland, Calif., in 1992. The modest two-bedroom property is where they lived for 20 years, raising three children, and where Vanessa made a living running an in-home day-care center. Neighbors in the mostly African American community often saw her planting vegetables in the backyard, with her kids in tow.
With housing costs gobbling up wage increases for union members and almost everyone else, labor must prioritize housing affordability. For many millions of Americans, winning decent, safe, and affordable housing is an urgent necessity. Housing costs are putting the squeeze on working families in urban and suburban settings alike, especially in communities of color that have long been targeted by predatory housing schemes.
For many millions of Americans, winning decent, safe, and affordable housing is an urgent necessity. Housing costs are putting the squeeze on working families in urban and suburban settings alike, especially in communities of color that have long been targeted by predatory housing schemes. Since the financial crisis, housing affordability has grown even worse for workers, as gentrification, rising rents, and the corporatization of rental properties—both multifamily and single-family homes—displace communities of color and increase homelessness.
According to the official records, U.S. workers went on strike seven times during 2017. That’s a particular nadir in the long decline of organized labor: the second-fewest work stoppages recorded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics since the agency started keeping track in the 1940s.
Protesters turned up at a meeting of the Los Angeles Board of Education and shut down debate at a time when a teacher strike in the nation’s second-largest public school system seems increasingly likely. More than 50 adults and students went to the meeting late Monday and shouted at board members in support of teachers and their union, which has been negotiating for more than 1½ years with the Los Angeles Unified School District and its new superintendent, Austin Beutner, the Los Angeles Times reported.
As all eyes were turned toward the big-ticket races in the House and Senate on Tuesday night—as Georgia, Florida, and Texas tiptoed toward history and then hit retreat—activists in cities around the country had their sights set on their own hard-fought prize: a suite of housing initiatives that had the ability to bring relief to millions of renters. Indeed, the mid-term elections were a critical test for this country’s growing tenants’-rights movement, which has emerged as a vibrant political force in recent years as renters and their allies work to combat exorbitant housing costs, rampant gentrification and widespread homelessness.
On August 24, the tenants of two buildings near the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles received letters from their landlord notifying them of a rent increase of over $800 a month. The increase was not a result of repairs or tax increases but rather, the letter said, of the upcoming election in November.
A supply of housing sufficient to meet urban needs in California will not be built for decades, if ever, and right now building doesn’t seem to be helping much. Many of the newer rental buildings carry high-end prices, while stock of affordable housing is actually falling.
Given that, rent control is an easy and off-the-shelf policy tool that many people are familiar with — one that does help some renters and doesn’t appear to cost taxpayers money. “It is the best anti-displacement tool around,” said Stephen Barton, co-author of a recent report that called rent control a key measure toward stabilizing California’s housing market.
Sacramento would cap rent hikes at 5 percent under a measure that qualified Thursday for the 2020 ballot as city residents grapple with soaring housing costs. City officials said Thursday that a petition drive, backed by rent control advocates and labor unions, has gained enough signatures — 44,000 — to qualify for the city ballot in two years. The signatures were independently tallied and analyzed by county voting officials. The “Sacramento Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Charter Amendment” would limit rent increases as well as restrict landlords’ ability to evict renters. It also establishes an elected rental-housing board tasked with monitoring and enforcing rent controls.
California is currently in the grip of an extreme housing affordability crisis. This fall, California voters have the chance to pass Proposition 10 and repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which would return to local communities the ability to expand rent control and limit skyrocketing rents. In National City, residents will get to vote on a measure in November to control arbitrary rent increases by limiting them to no more than a 5 percent increase per year, coupled with just cause to prevent unjustified evictions. Repealing Costa-Hawkins and placing reasonable limits on how much landlords can increase rents each year is an easy, fair and necessary way to help tackle the current affordable housing crisis.