A new bill making its way through the California state legislature would put a cap on rent increases and add new provisions for evicting residents.
Lawmakers see this as a step toward helping the housing crisis, while opponents of the bill say it may have the opposite effect.
Several bills aimed at helping fix the housing crisis have already been killed so far this session, but this bill is a little different. AB 1482’s main goal is trying to help protect tenants, but some property managers say it will do more harm than good.
“The more other people raise the rent, the more it gives other landlords the idea that, ‘Hey, I can raise the rent now,'” said renter Carla Donaldson.
Assemblymember David Chiu, author of AB 1482, says about half of all California renters are “rent burdened,” meaning they have to choose between paying for rent or basic necessities.
“I think landlords should take into consideration everyone’s situation and see if they can lower some of the rent. I think people are just out for money,” said renter Stacy McNabb.
Now the state could be stepping in to help with AB 1482, a bill that would limit rent increases to no more than seven percent plus inflation.
It would not include single family homes or property owners who own or lease fewer than 10 units.
“When you have millions of tenants who are one rent increase away from being evicted, becoming homeless, being forced to choose between food, healthcare or housing, we need to provide them with some relief,” Assemblymember Chiu said.
The bill would also create a “just cause” rule when it comes to evictions, to limit people getting forced out of their homes without cause. However, the tenants would have to be renting a space for more than a year.
“If a landlord is going to evict someone, they need to give a reason to do so and the reason cannot be discriminatory, retaliatory or arbitrary,” Chiu said.
Opponents of the bill say it will have the opposite effect as it would cap rent prices even for those who are more affluent and can afford to pay more.
“It’ll actually shrink housing and cause rental prices to go up and that’s not what we want. We want to protect the most vulnerable in our community and the best way is to create more housing stock,” said Steven Battaglia, Board Member of the Santa Barbara Rental Property Association.
The way the bill is written now, if it goes into law, it would only be in effect until January 2023.
The average rent for an apartment in San Luis Obispo is $2,138 according to rentcafe.com.