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Voters to decide on rent control in November

Posted at 5:38 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 20:51:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A new ballot initiative could transform the California housing market in November - by lifting restrictions on rent control laws. 

The California Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development held a joint hearing Thursday on the Affordable Housing Act, the statewide initiative to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act passed in 1995 - severely limiting municipal rent control ordinances. Repealing the act would restore the right of local communities to place reasonable limits on annual rent increases through rent control protections on all types of homes.  

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San Diegans in favor of rent control say they're spending more than half their income on rent, and it's only going up. 

But those against it say that it's only a Band Aid for a larger issue. 

"We don’t have the middle market type housing. We need to be doing things in the city to make it easier to build that kind of housing," Councilman Scott Sherman said. "Rent control has failed everywhere it's been tried. Trying to bring back something that has been shown to be detrimental to housing stock is not something we want to be doing."
Rafael Bautista doesn't agree. The Director of San Diego Tenants United says rent control is already happening in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, and San Diego needs to get on board. 

"The housing crisis didn’t originate out of thin air. People are going to be continued to be gouged in their rents unless there is something protecting them, that’s rent control," Bautista said, adding increase in rent is one of the contributing factors to homelessness. "We’ve seen the numbers, we’ve seen people end up on the streets, the exploding of homelessness."

Last month National City residents got one step closer to rent relief - by collecting 3,500 signatures in favor of rent control from registered voters. National City voters will make their decision on the November ballot. 

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