California passes historic rent control bill, sets statewide cap on rent increases
California has officially approved a statewide cap on annual rent increases, a strong step forward in alleviating the housing crisis happening both statewide and locally within San Diego.
The new bill, which Gov. Gavin Newsom has described as "the strongest [affordable housing] package in America," will limit all annual rent increases to 5% after inflation, along with a restriction on evictions without cause. It is set to take effect immediately.
For many in San Diego, such as the City Heights tenants that faced a 75% increase in April, the news comes as a small victory against the increasing worry of rent hikes in areas undergoing current waves of gentrification.
In a public statement, California Business Roundtable President Rob Lapsley said the bill will provide “certainty to both renters and developers during our ongoing housing crisis" by creating "a statewide standard that will put more than 95 percent of multifamily units under a consistent and uniform rent standard.”
According to a recent study by UC Berkeley, about 9.5 million tenants in California spend at least 30% of their income on housing costs.
In San Diego, about 57% of renters said they spent over 30% of their income in rent each year, with half of those saying they spent well over 50%.
As of now, California has become the third state to impose statewide rent control, following Oregon and New York this year. California's 5% cap is so far the strictest limit in the whole country.