Proposed legislation looks to cap rent increases annually

Posted at 10:56 PM, Mar 27, 2019

California voters knocked down rent control on November’s ballot, but a group of assembly democrats are bringing back the discussion.

City leaders say about 65% of people living in San Luis Obispo are renters, but many who are unable to keep up with increasing rent prices are forced to move.

A new set of bills aim to stop that.

In her five years of renting in SLO, Julia Mansfield hasn’t seen her rent drastically go up, but says this bill could help others facing rent increases.

“I know some people who have had their rent increased here and had to move as a result so I think it’s a good idea,” said Julia Mansfield, a San Luis Obispo renter.

Mayor Heidi Harmon says she’s seen people on the brink of eviction.

“Some people are raising people’s rent one or even 200% a year and I’ve seen that happen here in this community,” said Mayor Harmon. “I’ve had students, young people, working people, families come to me in tears saying their rent has gone up so much that they cannot only live in that home, but find another place here.”

However, a group of Democratic lawmakers is proposing a package of laws that would protect renters.

In the “Keep Families Home Bill” package, part of it (AB 1482), introduced by San Francisco Assemblyman David Chui, would prevent landlords from raising rents above a to-be-determined level.

Many landlords and others against rent control worry the bill would deter future construction.

“We don’t want to disincentivize folks from building more housing if that actually is a real outcome which is an outcome people say is going to happen so we need to get the data and understand that deeply,” said Mayor Harmon.

She says she is looking forward to keeping people in their homes.

“The types of housing, smaller, more affordability by design, more accessory dwelling units, the approval of tiny homes all of that will come into the mix to create more affordability for people here.”

Other measures in the package aim to create housing databases and establish stricter limits on eviction.

The Committee read the bill for the first time on Monday, but it will be read more times next month.

If signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, the bill would take effect January of next year.