California Lawmakers Weaken Plans To Protect Tenants From Big Rent Hikes And Evictions

An effort to temporarily protect California tenants from steep rent hikes cleared a major hurdle in the Legislature on Wednesday, even as other measures meant to insulate renters from the state’s rising housing costs continue to fall short at the Capitol.

A bill to cap annual rent hikes statewide at 7% plus inflation cleared the Assembly this week, but only after its supporters agreed to limit the policy to just three years. A companion measure to prevent landlords from evicting their tenants without first providing a reason failed when legislators did not take it up for a vote before this week’s deadline for it to pass the Assembly.

California’s rising housing costs are leaving too many renters vulnerable to eviction with nowhere else to go, said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), author of the rent cap measure, Assembly Bill 1482. Some 9.5 million renters — more than half of California’s tenant population — are burdened by high rents, spending at least 30% of their income on housing costs, according to a recent analysis by UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

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