SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego renters who recently signed leases could be hit with rent increases as much as 9.1 percent in 2022.
The increases would be authorized by a 2019 California law that capped rent hikes at 5 percent plus inflation, which is normally around 2 percent.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, inflation has been at its highest levels in more than a decade. In March, San Diego County's increase in the Consumer Price Index was 4.1 percent.
Thus, the law -- Assembly Bill 1482 -- would allow many landlords to raise rents by 9.1 percent when it comes to renewing leases that began on or after Aug. 1 of this year.
"Rent is increasing down here, and if you don't find a stable job, it is hard to survive," said David French, who rents a one-bedroom apartment in University City for more than $2,000 a month.
In a statement, Southern California Rental Housing Association executive director Alan Pentico said many housing providers chose to keep rents flat last year or even temporarily lower them due to the pandemic.
"Our members are always eager to work with their renters to find solutions that are good for everyone," he said. "Housing providers care about our community and we want to keep people in their homes whenever possible. At the same time, rent increases may take place to cover increased costs of maintaining a property and keeping it a great place to live."
The way the law is structured, renters who signed leases before Aug. 1 can face annual increases as much as 6.8 percent because inflation from March 2019 to March 2020 was 1.8 percent.
The state passed the law as a way to prevent landlords from being able to raise rents as much as they would like. It caps annual rent increases at 10 percent, regardless of the rate of inflation.
In May, the county Board of Supervisors approved a rent increase cap of 4.1 percent, matching inflation. That cap, however, has since expired.
The law does not apply to apartments built in the past 15 years, mobile homes, dorms, affordable housing, condos, duplexes in which the owner lives on site and single family homes unless they are owned by a real-estate investment trust or large corporation.