One of the bills, AB 36, was pulled by State Senator Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) after it did not garner enough support. The bill would have made changes to the Costa Hawkins Act of 1995, which restricted rent control. The bill is expected to be reintroduced next year. However, the other two bills, AB 1481 and AB 1482, are still being considered by the legislature.
AB 1481, dubbed “Just Cause Eviction,” would require a landlord to have a “just cause,” such as not paying rent, or using the property for illegal activity, in order to evict a tenant.
The other bill, AB 1482, introduced by David Chiu (D-San Francisco), would prohibit the owner of a residential property from increasing rent on a property to an amount greater than than the consumer price index, plus 5 percent.
“We know that many tenants are one rent increase away from not being able to afford food, healthcare, or even becoming homeless,” Chiu said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While San Francisco Mayoral candidate Ellen Lee Zhou agrees that California faces major housing challenges, she believes the bills don’t address the true causes.
“Temporarily, for a few months, a year, these bills might be able to help some tenants, but not in the long run,” she said.
The big problems that affect housing in California are illegal immigration and over-regulation, according to Zhou.
“In an average year, California pays $28 billion to help [illegal immigrants]. We can use that money to build housing.’’
“We have 3 million illegal immigrants here, and we have a 3.5 million housing unit shortages, so you can calculate it. If we take care of Californians first, then we won’t have these problems. Teachers could have housing, and the people who obey the laws could enjoy a higher quality of life,” Zhou said.
Zhou also said excessive regulations are stifling housing growth.
“The government should leave the people alone, the bigger the government, the more intervention, the worse things get.”
Citing the high numbers of homelessness in San Francisco, Zhou goes on to explain that 75% of the housing in the city is already rent controlled, questioning the efficacy of such measures.
She also believes that excessive regulations stifle investment in housing, eventually exacerbating the problem they were intended to alleviate.
“The people who have invested in housing are not able to get their investment back right now,” she said. “These bills will create more people with investments in the housing market whose returns will be minimized because of rent control, because of these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional laws. A rental agreement is contract between the tenants and the landlords, and the government has corrupted it.”
Zhou finished with a call for people to come out and vote.
“The most important thing is for people who are small property owners to wake up,” she said. “We need to pay attention to how we can revive California and San Francisco by standing up to politicians.”