Assembly Bill 1506 would repeal the State Limits on Local Rent Control Regulations and Ordinances. AB 1506 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Fair Housing Act which made it unlawful in the State of California to extend “Rent Control” to single dwelling homes, condominiums, granny flats, duplexes and all new construction. Further, it allows landlords to raise rents to “market values” when a unit became lawfully vacant.
Some Will Stop Providing Housing
It appears that Santa Monica Assemblyperson Richard Bloom, San Francisco Assemblyperson David Chiu and Oakland Assemblyperson Rob Bota, together with State Senator Ben Allen, want to promote and allow “local jurisdictions” to enact their own housing regulations and laws. So, in West Hollywood, where 75% of the likely voters are renters, and 70% of the voters in Santa Monica appear to be renters, the tenant activist associations have hijacked and dominated the local political landscape. Restrictive and oppressive rent control regulations will be promoted and thereafter adopted in more California cities if we allow AB 1506 to become law!
Housing scholars believe that many of the small apartment owners will have insufficient funds to manage their properties and will terminate their business. Others believe that the units will remain vacant rather than succumb to the oppressive and restrictive rent controls as suggested and proposed.
In a recent Assembly Housing/Community Development Committee Hearing in San Francisco, small property owners advised the committee leadership that “vacancy control was the ‘same sort of laws’ that caused many thousands of units to be abandoned in New York City, as the owners could not maintain their buildings”.
We all appreciate there is a housing crisis. However, tens of thousands of new rental units have been built based upon the State laws which permit them to be offered at “market rent”. Thousands of units were set aside for very low income as the “formula” promoted cooperation. Affordable housing will not be enhanced by AB 1506. It’s true; rents have escalated. However, many young, upwardly mobile executives and others, whether attorneys, physicians, motion picture or television executives, find it beneficial to live together and share the rents. The density of rental acceptance is incredibly high throughout Southern and Northern California.
A “Fair” Solution!
Perhaps the solution is that “rent burdened” tenants obtain rental vouchers from the cities to assist them in paying their rent. This is the only way this welfare program called “rent control” could be called “fair”. Since we have this “tenant welfare”, everybody should be sharing the cost. It is totally unjust that housing providers provide 100% of the cost of this program!
Perhaps we need a new, modern and progressive HUD Section 8 voucher which allows a tenant to rent at the market rates, and waive some of the several other restrictive provisions such as rent abatement, failure to opt out of the agreement after the initial year, and the inspection protocol at the outset. No wonder AOA is opposed to Section 8.
“Let’s Provide Housing…Some Place Else!”
The repeal of Costa-Hawkins Fair Housing Act is a recipe for all new development to find a venue in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and, of course, Texas. Dan Faller, President of the Apartment Owners Association of California Inc., is already currently building 32 two-bedroom units in Boise, Idaho. Do you think he would be doing this if he thought that he would be treated fairly in California? Dan says “These dirty politicians like Bloom, Chiu, Bota and Ben Allen steal our property rights to buy votes from tenants. Their ideas are as self-serving and anti-American Free Enterprise as you can get!!”
Dan further stated that “many other housing providers are building outside of California because of our politicians’ anti-housing provider attitudes. That, my friend, is a major reason we have such a severe housing shortage. Show me a state that has a shortage like we have and I’ll show you a state that has rent control. Do you get it, Mr. Politician? Rent control, also known as ‘tenant welfare’ is a major reason you politicians are responsible for the housing shortage!”
[AOA: Please write a new letter in opposition or make a copy of this letter and send it to your California Assembly Representative and to Assemblyman Chiu at 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Suite 14300, San Francisco, CA 94102. Go to www.assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers to find the person who represents your area. Thank you for supporting the industry! This bill has currently been set aside until next year however, we need to continue to put the pressure on and educate these politicians who probably have never had to run a business before. Thank you!]
Michael Millman is an attorney and a Mar Vista Activist and can be reached at (310)477-1201.