Lawmakers roll out bills to strengthen rent control across California

Democratic lawmakers in the Assembly unveiled several bills today aimed at protecting renters across California, including a far-reaching proposal for a statewide limit on rent hikes.

That measure, from Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), calls for a cap on how much landlords can raise rent every year. The amount has yet to be determined, but spokesperson Jennifer Kwart says it would be higher than what cities with rent control already on the books have adopted. In the city of Los Angeles, that’s typically around 3 or 4 percent.

“Renters are really having a hard time in California,” she tells Curbed. “We’re hearing horror stories of peoples’ rent being doubled or tripled.”

She shied away from calling it a proposal for statewide rent control.

“I’d call it an anti-rent gouging bill,” Kwart says. “This would be to protect against the large increases, the horrific things, where you hear about rent increases of 50 percent.”

About a dozen cities in California already have rent control laws. Chiu’s proposal, Assembly Bill 1482, would apply to cities that do not, including many in and around Los Angeles, from Burbank to Redondo Beach to Long Beach to Pasadena.

“This legislation will help bring some peace of mind and predictability to renters, allowing them to plan for their future and stay in their homes,” Chiu said in a statement.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) is pitching a bill that would allow cities with rent control to establish rent control in newer rental units.