The battle over rent control in the East Bay

Tenants and the real estate industry are preparing for a November showdown on the potential voter repeal of Costa Hawkins, the state law limiting the forms of rent control cities are allowed to implement.

As rents and home prices continue to skyrocket across California, a major ballot fight is brewing between tenants and the real estate industry over the state rent control law Costa Hawkins. The law prohibits cities from implementing rent control on single family homes as well as homes or apartments built after 1995 (or the year the city passed it’s rent control law, which, in Oakland, is 1983), resulting in 100% or more rent increases for tenants in these dwellings. The law also prohibits vacancy control, which means there are no regulations on how much landlords can charge new tenants moving in.

Tenants rights groups across the state have just submitted an initiative, which they expect to qualify for the November ballot, that will ask voters to repeal the law and return rent control policy making to local jurisdictions. While they have support from some landlord groups, they face opposition from real estate investors, developers, builders, and landlords who are opposed to the possibility of increased rent control.

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2 Comments

  1. Andrew Marowitz

    This is a battle of the haves vs the have nots, with HUGE silence by government and legislators, who are truly the source of the problem, because government inhibits housing development by way of endless regulation and massive money extraction. Instead of incentivizing development of housing by reduced regulation and reduced fees for planning and building, they stay silent, and keep their healthy paychecks and pensions rolling in. They are the reason there is a massive shortage of housing , therefrom driving up rental values , due to supply and demand. And then, there is great additional strain on the shortage, due to the inflow of sanctuary based immigrants who fill those housing units. And the ONLY faction that is blamed is the landlords/ housing providers.
    You all should be landlords, and see how it actually works , in the real world.
    Those developers who built housing after 1995, were relying on those exemptions, or they would not have built rental housing. Simple as that. Now they have to worry about rules changing, about betrayal by government to let this happen= lawsuits right and left.
    Then there are the landlords in the Bay Area, who have been subjected to rent control for years, and can’t get a pay raise, until someone actually moves out, which often takes years, while costs keep going up, taxes for school bonds, for immigrants taking classroom space and teachers for second ;languages.
    And every tenant wants cheap stabile rents, forever, and WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD A LANDLORD WANT TO BE A LANDLORD, WHERE THE RENT NEVER EVER GOES UP.???????
    If this passes, there will be no new rental housing built. NONE, and in a housing marekt where there is a crisis, and illegal immigrants flowing in, and tech companies moving here.

    It’s going to be a nightmare.

    And these idiot legislators knowingly stay out of this. All they care about is votes and re-election. They never craft laws that serve more than one faction, the majority. They could find solutions that
    provide equal representation and equal protection to both sides of this growing problem. But there gross incompetence is clearly demonstrated in their inability to find such solutions.They are a pathetic joke, only seeking to serve their egos in office.
    The solution is to pull out all the stops from a local regulatory viewpoint, to reward developers and homeowners to build and build. But instead, local governments are more interested in generating massive revenues from Planning and Building Departments, that fund the cities. It’s Robbery by Regulation, and they refuse to openly discuss the issues. They hide the truth. They … are the problem.
    And if there was a ton of available housing, then the rental values would ratchet down, or else the landlords would have extended and extensive vacancy loss.

    If cities want to force cheap and affordable housing in large amounts, then those cities should be the housing providers, not mom and pop landlords, whose rentals provide a pay check, a retirement, college funds for their kids,etc.

    In a rent freeze environment, Landlords will be increasingly victimized, and want to exit the business of landlording. They will Ellis Act, and Owner Move In , at extremely higher levels.
    No One will want the business and job of being a landlord. NO ONE. Would You, Mr. Tenant, Mr Legislator? No WAY !!!!

  2. The biggest problem in all of this is how can these guy ” real estate investors, developers, builders, and landlords” get more money form people that work for a living, and some times have trouble to pay the enormity rents. The government should establish a limit of how much this guy ask for rent.

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