Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom is celebrating his signing of Assembly Bill 1482, which frames itself as providing the nation’s strongest statewide renter protections. Unfortunately, AB 1482 is insufficient in providing relief to California’s 17 million renters.
AB 1482, which some have framed as “rent control,” is anything but. Rent control seeks to mirror the rate of allowable rent increases with the rate of inflation. AB 1482 instead allows landlords to raise rents 5% on top of inflation, annually. That means landlords can — and soon, they will — legally raise rents by 8 to 9% each year. That might be one of the reasons why the California Apartment Association, the nation’s largest statewide lobbying group for landlords, didn’t oppose the bill.
Separately, the bill only actually affects 7% of rent hikes in the state, and it expires after only 10 years, securing long-term protections for no one.
René Christian Moya, Director of Housing Is a Human Right, says: “What Californians desperately need in this period of runaway rental prices, and what polls show they overwhelmingly support, is real Rent Control Now! The Rental Affordability Act allows for that possibility.”
Housing Is A Human Right is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). HHR and AHF are the leading organizations behind the Rental Affordability Act, the ballot measure that allows communities to expand rent control in California.
The nationwide tenants movement is surging. California renters are demanding solutions for the housing affordability and homelessness crises. HHR and AHF have already collected more than half-a-million signatures to put the Rental Affordability Act on the 2020 November ballot.
In addition, a recent poll conducted by A/B Consulting and commissioned by AIDS Healthcare Foundation found that 75 percent of likely and extremely likely voters support the Rental Affordability Act.
California is experiencing a housing affordability crisis. A majority of renters are overburdened by housing costs, with one-third of renters spending more than half of their income on rent. The cost of housing is driving increasing numbers of Californians into homelessness, which surged by 12% in Los Angeles, 17% in San Francisco, and 43% in Alameda counties last year. We must take urgent steps to keep people in their homes.
To learn more about the Rental Affordability Act and to sign the petition, go to: https://www.housingisahumanright.org/sign-raa/.