This legislation is a big deal for California renters. Renters statewide will have rights in the face of unchecked rent increases. Landlords who seek to impose outrageous rent increases will have limits placed on their profiteering.
San Francisco Chronicle 8.31.2019
SACRAMENTO — Californians would be protected against massive rent increases and unfair evictions under an agreement announced Friday evening by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Tenants who have lived in an apartment for at least a year could not be evicted without a just cause, including failing to pay rent, breaching a rental agreement, creating a nuisance or engaging in criminal activity. If they were to be evicted through no fault of their own, such as when a property is taken off the market, they would be entitled to relocation assistance equivalent to one month of rent.
Tenant advocates and landlords have been at odds all year over anti-rent-gouging legislation that supporters said was necessary to keep people in their homes as living costs soar across California and that groups representing apartment owners and developers argued would discourage new construction. But the groups agreed to a deal that could clear a path for AB1482, a bill from Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, that has struggled to find favor in the Legislature amid intense industry opposition.
Under the compromise, landlords would not raise rent by more than 5% plus the regional cost of living increase, or a maximum of 10%, per year, according to the governor’s office.
The deal would expire in 2030 and exclude apartment buildings built in the previous 15 years, duplexes where the owner lives in one of the units and single-family homes, unless they are owned by corporations.
“The high cost of housing and rising rents are preventing California families from getting ahead,” Newsom said in a joint statement with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Chiu. “These steep housing costs drive inequality and threaten to erode California’s economic growth.”
The details of the agreement are similar to early versions of Chiu’s AB1482, which was dramatically scaled back to win approval in the Assembly in June.
The most recent iteration would have capped rent increases at 7% plus inflation and would have sunset after three years. But Newsom told reporters several weeks ago that he wanted something stronger, ratcheting up negotiations again.
The California Apartment Association, which represents owners and developers of rental properties, had warned legislators for months that the measure was too restrictive and would scare development away from the state. But in a statement Friday, Debra Carlton, senior vice president of public affairs, said the association thought it was important to be a part of the solution.
“We applaud the governor for temporarily finding a solution for tenants,” she said. “Now we must get serious about moving forward on production, which is the only way we address our housing crisis.”
The changes will be amended into AB1482 next week and the bill must win the approval of both the Senate and the Assembly before the Legislature adjourns on Sept. 13.