Tenants fighting for rent control in San Diego, gathering petitions

Posted at 9:40 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-25 00:41:52-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Organizers with San Diego Tenants United say the time for rent control in San Diego is now and that too many people are being displaced by rising rent costs. 

They've gathered over 8,000 signatures on a petition to implement rent control in the city.

"People are getting priced out of their homes, they're getting displaced, to the degree where you're seeing mass displacement,"   said organizer Rafael Bautista. "We're making homeless people by not creating rent control in San Diego."

They're asking rent increases be limited to two percent each year and that code enforcement is strengthened so units are not neglected.

"This idea that rent control is a band-aid solution? No, it's the primary solution," said Bautista.

Christine La Marca, President of the San Diego County Apartment Association, disagrees. She believes the real problem is the lack of housing and says rent control could make the problem worse.

"What builder is going to want to build more housing? Right now what we have is a massive deficit of housing, we need to build more housing," said La Marca.

La Marca says due to increasing costs, sometimes raising rent is necessary.

"There's debt on most of the properties, there are property taxes on that, there's also all of the utilities, so you've got your water, your sewer, your trash. You've also got the maintenance of any kind common area, swimming pool, gymnasiums," said La Marca. "Our pocketbooks are tightening because all of our expenses are going up, the renter needs to realize the landlord is experiencing the same increases in the cost of operation."

La Marca says if regulations were loosened, the city would see more construction of homes and apartments to meet its growing needs. She believes this would help drive the cost of rent down. 

Bautista says once they reach 10,000 signatures they'll present their petition to the city council and the mayor.