Last Tuesday we mobilized to attend the first-ever State Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee informational hearing on “The Housing Affordability Crisis: Exploring the Effects of Renter Displacement” and asked you to contact your local state representatives to demand the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.
Costa Hawkins Act
As the main breadwinner, Martha Simmons has always worked hard to support her family. But when her landlord raised the rent of the home she rents with her adult daughter, Charitie Bolling, who is disabled, Bolling’s husband and their three small children at 1140 Ingerson Ave., the 60-year-old was forced to take on three security jobs just to stay afloat. “Right now, I’m working seven days a week, 16 hours a day to keep roof over our head,” said Simmons, whose $3,300 rent was raised to $4,700 last year.
A state senator and tenants rights group are working to overturn a decades-old law that prohibits rent control on homes.
In the wake of a KCRA 3 investigation into the corporate ownership of single-family homes, advocates want the state to change the Costa-Hawkins law, which passed in the 1990s and prevents rent control for single-family homes. Over the past year, rents for single-family homes have increased by more than 10 percent.
Tenants rights groups said one company owning too many homes in a region can have a significant impact on the rental market.
We're blown away.
Earlier this year, three California Assemblymembers — Richard Bloom, David Chiu & Rob Bonta — took Sacramento by surprise, introducing AB 1506 to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Recent grassroots organizing by tenant groups laid the groundwork for this important legislation. Since 2015, numerous cities have been organizing for rent control, and in that time tenants in Richmond, San Jose, Union City, and Mountain View have already won new protections.
Tenants Together monitors legislation in Sacramento that impacts California renters. We are currently monitoring dozens of bills in an unusually crowded state docket. There are hundreds of bills in the legislature this year as the state attempts to address our housing crisis. We are also supporting bills to protect tenants more broadly from threats at the federal level. Click on the bill name to see the text and follow its status as it moves through the legislature.
Currently, TT supports the following bills:
Under pressure from the California Apartment Association and other real estate interests, Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, has put on hold a bill that seeks to increase renter protections amid California’s widening housing crisis.
Bloom wants to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law passed in 1995 that curtails the type of housing covered under local rental control laws and prevents cities from strengthening tenant protections for renters.
Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, a Los Angeles tenant advocacy group, said that despite the delay, the bill’s introduction in itself has created the possibility of changes once considered far-fetched. Before AB 1506, the only repeal bill submitted was one in 2000 that never came up for a vote, according to Bloom’s office.
“It’s the beginning of a groundswell,” Gross said.
Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s bill that would allow for the return of extreme rental housing price control eliminated two decades ago has received a mixed reaction statewide.
But his bill has the full support of the Santa Monica Rent Control Board. The board voted unanimously Thursday to endorse Bloom’s proposal (AB 1506).
The board also endorsed another of Bloom's bills, AB 982, that would require landlords to provide a one-year notice to tenants before evicting them under the Ellis Act, which allows property owners to get out of the rental business.