On Oct. 19, the city became the first in Orange County to approve a rent control ordinance at a city council meeting with a 4–3 vote. The law would prevent landlords from raising rent by more than 3 percent annually.
“The California Apartment Association and a coalition of business groups, local housing providers, and residents believe the City Council rushed to impose these laws without any meaningful outreach to the community, analysis, or understanding of their impacts on the city’s finances of housing stock,” CAA Senior Vice President of Local Public Affairs Victor Cao said in a statement.
Before the ordinance goes into effect, petitioners must gather 12,500 signatures from registered voters to potentially send the ordinance to a public referendum. Once the signatures are collected and valid, the city council can choose to either revoke the rent control policies or put them on the ballot for residents to vote on.
“The referendum will allow Santa Ana voters to have a community conversation and decide whether they want a multi-million-dollar bureaucracy to regulate the housing market forced on the city by four council members,” Cao said.
Santa Ana’s rent control is seen to be stricter than those throughout the state, as rent increases are capped at 80 percent of the local inflation rate, according to CAA. The ordinance will also require the district attorney to assist with evictions due to criminal activity.
Mayor Vincente Sarmiento applauded the ordinance for its promise to halt unnecessary rent hikes.
“The adoption of the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinances will finally address the long-standing plea from so many of our rent-burdened working families in Santa Ana,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
“These new ordinances will stabilize our neighborhoods and prevent the trauma of being displaced by excessive rent hikes and unjustified evictions. Landlords and property owners will continue to have the ability to responsibly manage and generate a reasonable return on their investment.”
A spokesperson from the City of Santa Ana didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.