Statewide rent control debate leads Sacramento council to postpone mediation hearing
With a rent control hearing looming at the Capitol, the Sacramento City Council last month postponed its own hearing on landlord-tenant policies.
The council had been scheduled to hold a second hearing April 23 on the proposed Residential Rental Mediation Program, which is intended to address high rents while housing supply catches up with demand.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg, however, moved to postpone the hearing in light of two rent control bills scheduled to be weighed at the state Capitol later that week.
Steinberg suggested that the robust discussions surrounding AB 1489 and AB 36 could have a significant impact on local landlord-tenant policies. The council voted unanimously to bump the mediation item until June 25 or later.
AB 1482 would cap rents on every rental unit in California, limiting annual increases to 5% plus the rate of inflation, while AB 36 would weaken California’s Costa-Hawkins Act, allowing cities and counties to expand local rent control laws to buildings as they turn 10 years old, as well as to single-family homes.
While AB 36 was canceled at the author’s request, making it unlikely to move forward this year, the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee went forward with its hearing on AB 1482. Despite opposition led by CAA, the bill advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
If ultimately signed into law, California would become the second state in the union to impose a statewide rent cap, following in the footsteps of Oregon.
Whether the debate on statewide rent control legislation will affect the discussion at Sacramento City Hall remains to be seen.
The ordinance, which offers an alternative to rent control at the local level, is part of the Tenant Protection and Relief Act and includes two major policy components. The first is non-binding mediation if requested by tenants upon a rent increase notice exceeding 6%. The second requires that rental owners offer tenants an 18-month lease option, although they can also offer other terms.
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