Proposed Law to Expand Rent Control Raises Ire of Landlords

Friday, March 3, 2017
Melissa Caen
CBS (San Francisco)

A housing hearing in San Francisco got heated Friday over a plan that would make it much easier for residents to find a rent-controlled place in California.

In the Bay Area, almost nothing gets people riled up like housing prices.

“This is what the legislature should be working on: building more affordable housing stop government waste,” said retired teacher Marlene Tran.

Assembly Democrats on Friday announced a slew of proposed new laws aimed at bringing the Bay Area’s sky-high prices back to earth.

One is AB 1506. It would allow local governments to create and impose rent control

“It’s a very controversial bill, but you have to look at both sides of the economic equation,” said California State Assembly member Richard Bloom.

Right now, there’s a state law that limits rent control. It says buildings constructed after 1995 can’t be rent controlled.

AB 1506 would eliminate that.

Local governments could make rent control apply to every building, even new ones.

Currently when a tenant leaves a rent controlled unit, landlords are able to bump rent up to market rate.

AB 1506 would prevent that as well.

Small property landlords say the proposed bill would make it hard for them to say in business.

“They keep on putting the squeeze on us because we are fewer in number than tenants. That is not the way to do it. That is totally egregious,” said Nono Richen, the President of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco.

Assemblyman David Chiu says he wants to make it easier for housing to be built.

“At the same time, we have seen literally millions of vulnerable tenants around the state of California who are at risk of being evicted,” said Chiu. “We have to do things to protect those vulnerable tenants as well.”

Chiu says the final version of AB 1506 may not eliminate all restrictions on rent control.

“It’s meant to start a conversation in how we tackle this,” said Chiu. “I suspect as we go through the process there will be changes and potential new ideas that come out of that. That’s the discussion that I’m working for.”

The rent control was just one of more than a dozen housing laws discussed on Friday. More than 100 housing laws have been proposed in this legislative session.

The housing committee will be holding another meeting in Los Angeles in a few weeks.

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