Nothing affects the issue of affordable housing than that for the plight of renters in the housing market. Sara, a single Mom of 2, works two jobs to support her rent, utilities, food, car, and kids’ expenses. She pays the average rent in San Diego North County of $1,588 per month. A 10% increase in rent would devastate her family’s ability to make ends. She is vulnerable to that increase any time her lease is up for renewal or at her landlord’s whim for a month to month agreement. Living on the cusp of homelessness is not the pursuit of happiness that Thomas Jefferson coined in the Declaration of Independence 243 years ago.
AB 1482 would restrict rent increases to 7.5% and the bill’s author, Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) calls this proposal as an “anti-rent gouging” measure—not rent control. The bill would also prohibit a landlord from terminating a tenancy for the purposes of avoiding the bill’s provisions and would create a rebuttable presumption that the termination of a tenancy is for the purposes of avoiding these provisions in the absence of a written statement showing cause for the termination.
Opponents believe the marketplace should guide the cost of housing and wish to drive up opposition by rants that such measures are “rent control.” This is a quite moderate bill that protects property owners as well as renters. The Consumer Price Index averages 2.5% in California. Thus, a 7.5% ceiling would allow property owners to achieve profit from their real estate investment. But at the same time, the 7.5% ceiling would provide renters, like Sara, the peace of mind that her landlord will not price her, and her family, out of their home.
AB 1482 has advanced out of the Housing and Community Development Committee and has now been referred to the Appropriations Committee in the State Assembly. As part of the affordable housing plan outlined by the Governor, AB 1482 is deserving of support from our representatives in Sacramento.
Alan Geraci is a candidate for the San Marcos City Council, District 3 and a public interest attorney.