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SB50 and other Rent Control Updates

May 2019

California voters in November voted against Proposition 10, which would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that limits rent control. But proponents of putting a cap on rent and those against it are continuing to square off. The debate over rent control comes as the cost of housing reaches an all-time high in the state. While Prop. 10 was defeated on the ballot, developers and property owners know that this is an issue that will continue to come up unless a middle ground is reached — if that is possible. In California, homeownership rates are at the lowest point since the 1940s. Of the 6 million renters in the state, more than 3 million households are paying more than 30% of their income toward rent. One-fourth of renters — about 1.5 million households — spend more than 50% of their income on rent, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Read More


SB50 set to override zoning laws for mid-rise apartment buildings

Edit: SB50 tabled until next year | read more

Senate Bill 50 would override local zoning laws to require cities and counties to allow mid-rise apartment buildings within half a mile of major transit stops or in “jobs-rich” areas. It would do away with single-family zoning altogether, allowing property owners to convert single-family houses anywhere in the state into four-unit apartment houses.

SB 50 is bold, to be sure; it would herald a dramatic, but ultimately necessary transition toward greater density in California.


Battle for rent control "cheaper than homelessness"

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to consider funding legal representation for low-income renters at risk of eviction.

Supervisor Kuehl said that in an environment with more than half of county residents living paycheck to paycheck, any unexpected financial crisis could leave families unable to pay rent and ultimately evicted from their homes.

Anticipating the results of a point-in-time homeless count likely to show significant increases, the county has focused more intently on preempting homelessness.

She pointed to a study on eviction conducted for the Philadelphia Bar Association concluding that every dollar spent on eviction defense could generate more than $12 in savings on shelters, hospital visits, mental health services and juvenile justice, among other expenses. Philadelphia has one of the highest poverty rates of large U.S. cities and an eviction rate much higher than the national average. Read More


City looks into permanent rent cap solution

The city of Inglewood — where the new home of the Rams, the multibillion-dollar Los Angeles Stadium and Entertainment District, is being built — last month passed an emergency ordinance to cap rent increases and evictions as the city looks into a more permanent solution. Read More


New coalition formed backing rent control movement

Five area tenants’ rights organizations have formed a coalition to get behind a rent control and eviction protections ballot initiative for the November 2020 general election. Read More


Apartments turn to short-term rentals as a result of rent caps

More than 58 apartments in the Ellison Building in Venice provided a home for long-term renters. The units were also rent-controlled.

But over time, the landlord turned to short-term rentals instead of providing housing for the long-term renters the building is zoned for.

In one apartment building, where only 10 long-term tenants remain, the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission unanimously voted to deny the building the ability to operate as a short-term rental property. The decision allows the last 10 tenants to stay in their apartments. Read More

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