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No Need for Statewide Rent Control, But Legislators Keep Trying to Make it Happen by – Noni Richen, President of SPOSFI

Posted on 01. Jun, 2019 by in all

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As one of the first arrivals at our designated bus stop, just as the sun was rising on April 25th, I wondered if any of our members would join the ride to Sacramento to protest AB 1482, yet another attempt to impose statewide rent control. But I had no reason to doubt—our bus was full, and we even had to turn away a few late arrivals. There were two other buses, full as well, so we numbered about 150 orderly protesters. There were so many of us, in fact, that we were only allowed to identify ourselves and say, “I oppose.” Ultimately, our efforts to stop the bill were unsuccessful.

Assemblymember Chiu’s bill, slightly amended, was voted out of committee and will be presented to the full Assembly.

There is no need to impose statewide rent control: any city that wants rent control can impose it under present state law! This continued posturing on the part of legislators whose districts already have rent control is merely a gesture to ensure votes in their re-election efforts.  It’s no surprise that their districts already have the most severe housing shortages in the state. Thank you to each of you who gave up an entire day to ride a bus or drive to Sacramento. And thank you to the pro-housing groups who funded our efforts! We’re very fortunate to have a statewide coalition that has hired lobbyists to visit the legislators and discuss the bills.

The legislators often amend their bills to soften the damage. One bill that was scheduled for a vote during our protest was removed from the agenda, possibly to “die in committee.” The legislators push their agenda as if they are “saving” rent-controlled housing for future renters.  In most cases, those who employ the Ellis Act or local owner/relative move-in evictions want the places for their own use. They want to be freed from being housing providers in this hostile environment.

State legislators and county supervisors created this environment, and now they want us to pay for the consequences of their misguided actions. As always, we are being attacked by our own Board of Supervisors, a legislative body seemingly incapable of sating its hunger to control our private property.

Attorney Sarah Hoffman wrote about the Community Offer to Purchase Act in last month’s newsletter, just one of many examples. Unsurprisingly, the supervisors passed this bill unanimously, with little debate or concern for its consequences.  But we housing groups are unanimous, too, in our desire to fight back.

AB 1482 has to pass an additional committee and the full Assembly and Senate. We have not given up. AB 1482, as presented, would expand rent control statewide to California’s 58 counties. An amendment is proposed to exclude some of the less populated counties. Under the current proposal, the maximum rents could be capped at regional CPI plus 5%.  Housing committee member Sharon Quirk-Silva said that she would like stability so that the percentage is not reduced year after year, and implied there should be no pre-emption of more restrictive local ordinances.

Committee chairman and our local assembly member David Chiu told Committee member Monique Limon that he wanted to have regional flexibility.  This means that the statewide rent control limitation would not supersede more strict local ordinances. We will follow the changes as this legislation proceeds.

Reprinted with permission of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI) News.  For more information on becoming a member of SPOSFI or to send a tax-deductible donation, please visit their website at www.smallprop.org or call (415) 647-2419.

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