All across California, rent rates are rising at a rapid pace, especially as the housing shortage creates an ever greater demand for affordable housing. This situation is reaching crisis levels, as many find their costs rising unexpectedly and reaching heights that are simply not affordable.
Surprising as it may seem, legislators are not blind to these developments, and have been working diligently to propose the solution so many residents have been hoping for: The Affordable Housing Act. This bill is being put forward by a tenant advocacy group that is working with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
However, this proposal will likely not have an easy journey. Before it can even make it onto the ballot in November of 2018, this bill will need 365,880 valid voter signatures. The Affordable Housing Act will only have a chance to become law in the state of California if voters are outraged enough by the current living expenses to make their opinions heard.
Though, it is important to note that this is a worthwhile fight. The passage of this proposal would roll back a 1995 law called the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which put limits on the level of rent control that officials could enact. Given the current housing crisis happening in cities all over California, it is definitely an issue that will be a lot of attention.
If the Costa Hawkins law is put aside after the vote, rent control could then be applied to new housing units. As the law currently stands, rent control in Los Angeles can apply only to housing built before October of 1978. However, some condominiums and single-family residences are exempt from the Costa Hawkins law, so landlords of units under rent-control can raise rent rates whenever tenants move out.
Undoubtedly, the issues around this proposed measure are contentious. After all, the housing market in California is at its most expensive, with prices and rents only slated to rise further. Yet, some real estate professionals argue that applying widespread rent control will slow down the pace of new construction, which will only raise housing expenses in the long-run.
Regardless of whether or not this specific bill is passed into law, the opinions of greedy developers and so-called experts must be disregarded by legislators. Otherwise, there will be no relief in sight for the struggling individuals and families trying to make ends meet in San Francisco. Such a development would only exacerbate tensions in the area and drive out the communities and cultural groups that give the city its ineffable charm and diversity.