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Residents want rent control in San Diego

Posted: 11:25 PM, Mar 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-09 07:31:49Z

Rebecca Schulman loves living in Ocean Beach.

"I have ocean views, you know that's pretty nice, great little sunset out there," said Schulman. The glimpse of the sunset that she sees from her kitchen window doesn't come cheap.

She pays $1,750 a month for her one bedroom apartment above a garage on Saratoga Avenue.

"Pretty much everyone else in the country is like, 'I don't know how you do it, how is it possible?'" said Schulman. Still, she feels like it's a deal compared to what her last landlord pulled.

"He said he was going to raise the rent from $2,200 to $3,000 and also wanted a $3,000 security deposit after I'd been living there for five years," said Schulman.

Schulman is part of a growing movement pushing for rent control in San Diego. She's promoting a petition that started on change.org .

"I don't necessarily want to tell people, you know, what they should be charging or anything like that, but it seems like there is a real need for some kind of balance between the housing crisis that we are having," said Schulman.

The average monthly rent for an apartment in San Diego County is expected to jump to $2,000 by 2020. One local realtor told 10News that means rents would double between 2010 and 2020 based on the past 40 years tracking prices. The lack of supply, low vacancy, and high cost of new construction keeps pushing rents higher.

"If you start to create these community enclaves where you know, only the wealthy can afford to live there, you kind of again, create these bubbles of separation between people," said Schulman.

Schulman is a self-employed massage therapist. She says she lives a simple life; saving money by having no TV and cooking all of her own meals, but plenty of her friends are struggling.

"One thing I see a lot is so many of my single parent friends living in these like, closets, you know, with their kids."

Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York all have some form of rent control.

Depending on the city, landlords can only raise the rent by a certain percentage each year for existing tenants or the rates are tied to inflation.

Opponents say rent control or stabilization encourages people to stay in their apartments longer; creating a shortage and driving up the price of available units.

Schulman believes there must be a middle ground.

"I don't want to see it as this 'us against them.' I would like it to be fair for everyone and for everyone to have their say. I do think some kind of conversation needs to be started here."