A Bill to Expand Rent Control Fails to Pass Housing Committee

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Sally Schilling
Capital Public Radio

Hundreds of tenants and landlords came to the Capitol Thursday to voice their stance on a bill that would have expanded rent control in California.

The proposal, which would have repealed a law called Costa-Hawkins, which prohibits rent control on properties that were built after 1995, failed to pass a vote by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

Tenants' rights advocates say repealing Costa-Hawkins would help protect tenants from rapidly rising rents.

"Costa-Hawkins incentivizes landlords in rent-controlled cities to kick out affordably housed tenants so they can realize unlimited rent increases for the new tenant," said Dean Preston, with Tenants Together.

But many landlords and developers disagree. Cynthia Wray is with FPI Management, which manages 75,000 rental properties in California. She says the state needs to build more housing, and developers won't want to build if they're subject to rent control. "It will have a devastating impact in the long run and will lead to significantly higher housing costs," Wray said.

But tenant advocate Chanee Franklin Minor says expanding rent control would actually help address the housing crisis.

"We need to maintain the stability for the people that are already housed," Franklin Minor said. "Because if we don't, we're just going to have a circular, continuous problem."

The proposal fell one vote shy of passing.

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