A proposal to place a cap on rent hikes statewide was approved in the California Assembly last week and will now advance into the Senate—with major changes after pressure from California REALTORS®.
The California Association of REALTORS® reports that “due in large part to your calls to legislators, C.A.R. was able to successfully negotiate a deal with the bills’ authors on amendments that allow C.A.R. to remove its opposition. This compromise strikes a balance between preserving the rights of rental property owners while allowing the protection of at-risk tenants. Of particular concern, small property owners are protected, and the reach of both bills are limited with a sunset date of 2023.”
The Mercury News reports that “because of an 11th-hour handshake deal” with C.A.R., the rent caps proposed under Assembly Bill 1482 are now higher: 7 percent, plus the rate of inflation, which averages about 2.5 percent in California.
It was approved as lawmakers scrambled to meet last Friday’s deadline for bills in the California Legislature to pass in their original chambers. AB 1482 was the only tenant protection bill to survive.
Assembly Bill 1481, a “companion” bill to AB 1482 that would have made it illegal for landlords to evict tenants without “just cause,” failed to come up for a vote last Thursday. It is now dead for the year.
Referencing the demise of Senate Bill 50—which would have allowed four-and five-story apartment buildings near train stations and some bus stops in single-family neighborhoods—Los Angeles Times state politics reporter Liam Dillon called May a “blood bath” for California housing bills. The Sacramento Bee declared it a win for landlords and REALTORS®.
Before the compromise, AB 1482 had established a cap of 5 percent, plus inflation.
René Christian Moya, director of Los Angeles-based Housing Is A Human Right, the housing rights division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said the changes “watered down” the bill and give a “raw deal” to renters. But even with the changes, other groups say the proposed legislation will protect tenants from rent gauging. Uplift Inglewood called it an “amazing step forward to protect renters.”
AB 1482 would apply to all types of rental properties, except those already subject to local rent control laws, such as renters in the cities of Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles. In the city of Los Angeles, property owners of rent-controlled buildings are right now allowed to raise rent 3 percent.