The California Apartment Association has challenged the city of Santa Ana and Contra Costa County for violating the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Both jurisdictions, citing tenant hardships caused by COVID-19, imposed bans on rent increases, however, these prohibitions conflict with state law. The Santa Ana rent freeze applies to all tenants and all housing, regardless of housing type or age. The Contra Costa County ban failed to exempt newer units, which is a required under Costa-Hawkins.

These moves violate Costa-Hawkins, which prohibits local governments from imposing rent control on single-family homes and condominiums and on apartments built after 1995.

CAA sent this letter to the city of Santa Ana, asking that it amend the executive order imposing the rent freeze so that it complies with Costa-Hawkins. The association also has sent a similar letter to Contra Costa County.

The association recognizes that tenants are facing financial difficulties because of the pandemic and has encouraged its members to voluntarily forgo rent increases during this difficult time. For more information, see CAA’s Safe at Home Guidelines.