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Rent Control Expected on the 2020 Ballot

As of this week, landlords of Los Angeles rent-controlled buildings can raise rent by 4%, the first time in a decade the annual cap isn’t 3%.

If gas or electricity is included in the rent, landlords can raise it an additional 1% for each.

Rent control measures have been gaining momentum across Southern California in recent months. They followed the defeat of Proposition 10 in November that would have opened the door to rent control statewide.

However, rent control could be back on the California ballot in 2020.

There are key differences between Proposition 10 and the new proposal.

Rather than repealing Costa-Hawkins (CA state law that places limits on municipal rent control ordinances), this initiative would modify it. Should it pass, cities could opt into a rent control regime that would apply to all housing that is more than 15 years old. The rules would require cities to limit how much a landlord could increase rents when a new tenant moves in, provided that it’s at least 15% over a three-year period. Property owners renting out two or fewer homes would be exempt.

If the initiative were to pass, cities with existing rent control rules would update to the new system automatically. So rent control in Los Angeles would immediately apply to all housing built in 2006 or earlier rather than in 1978 or earlier as it does today.

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