Rent control bill advances in California Senate

AB 1482 guarantees and expands rent control to more rental units 

CALIFORNIA is now closer to having statewide rent control after the California Senate Judiciary Committee approved AB 1482 on the evening of Tuesday, July 9.

AB 1482 is an “anti-rent gouging bill” that would make it illegal for property owners to raise rents higher than 7%  and the Consumer Price Index (which averages at 2.5% statewide) in one year. The state Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill 6-1 after an intense 14-hour marathon session after many absences in the committee prolonged the vote. 

“We have to recognize some people are hurting in our economy,” said California Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), chair of the judiciary committee.

Earlier this year AB 1482 passed the State Assembly. The bill now makes its way to Senate Appropriations Committee, and if fully approved by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California would be the second state to pass a statewide rent control bill after Oregon became the first in February. 

Additionally, AB 1482 would tighten the requirements for eviction, only allowing landlords to evict tenants with “just cause,” a provision that was included in a separate bill that didn’t pass the Assembly.

The bill would make the most significant impact on cities that don’t already have rent control laws in place. But many cities in California already have rent control laws, like Los Angeles, renters in these cities still benefit from the bill. According to a report from UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, AB 1482 would protect 4.6 million households “from unsustainable rent increases” in the short term.

However, the bill doesn’t guarantee rent control across the board. In cities that have limited rent control, the bill’s effects would apply to buildings built after 1995, which have been historically been exempt from rent control per the controversial Costa Hawkins Act.

The bill states that AB 1482 would not apply to units built less than ten years ago or buildings owned by those with ten or fewer single-family homes. 

That being said, Los Angeles city law already places rent control on units built before 1978, but this bill would open up rent control to buildings built between 1978 and 2009. In its report, the Terner Center estimated that in three California communities — Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights, San Francisco’s Mission District and Fruitvale and West Oakland — roughly 32% more rental units would receive stronger protections against rent increases under AB 1482.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s passing of AB 1482 comes at amid what experts call the state’s worst housing crisis. 

Six bills designed to make housing more affordable in California didn’t pass in the Senate last May, which LA Curbed dubbed “the worst month in California’s housing policy history.” 

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