On Wednesday, September 11, the California Legislature passed a rent control ordinance and Governor Newsom has indicated he will sign the legislation. This new law will help low-income renters throughout the state stay in their homes, especially at a time when major populations centers – namely Los Angeles and San Francisco – see increases in their homeless populations.
Assemblymember David Chiu’s bill will limit annual rent increases to five percent after inflation, along with providing new protections against eviction. These new protections will add a level of security and well-being to renters throughout California, known for having the nation’s highest housing prices.
California’s new protections will cover an estimated eight million renters throughout the State. California joins only three other states – Maryland, New York, and New Jersey – along with the District of Columbia in having state-wide renter protections.
According to a Pew Research study published in 2017, the number of renters throughout the United States is at a 50-year high. And, after adjusting for housing costs, California, according to a U.S. Census report published just this month, has the highest state poverty rate, 18.2 percent, which is roughly five percent higher than the national average. These facts are compounded by a dramatic increase in homeless populations throughout the state. Los Angeles saw a 16 percent increase in 2018, while San Francisco saw a 17 percent increase. According to a US Department of Housing and Urban Development report from 2018, roughly 50 percent of the entire United States homeless population lives in California, roughly 200,000 individuals.
It is clear the housing crisis, in both available stock and affordability, is real and needs to be addressed. Protecting existing and new renters in the State with the highest housing prices is a logical and necessary step.
Assemblyman Chiu, the bill’s author, said, “The housing crisis is reaching every corner of America, where you’re seeing high home prices, high rents, evictions and homelessness that we’re all struggling to grapple with. Protecting tenants is a critical and obvious component of any strategy to address this.”
We agree with Assemblymember Chiu and look forward to Governor Newsom signing the bill.