In the News

March 17, 2017

With housing costs skyrocketing, rent control is on the docket again in Sacramento

With housing costs skyrocketing, rent control is on the docket again in Sacramento

March 17, 2017 10:00 AM by Andrew Khouri / Los Angeles Times

Amid California’s housing crisis, 几位州议员希望赋予城市大幅扩大租金控制的能力, 包括实施曾在圣塔莫尼卡和西好莱坞存在的严格限制,但自上世纪90年代以来一直被禁止. A bill that would do so, introduced last month, 随着加州经济的繁荣和住房生产的滞后,越来越多的人要求限制飞涨的租金,这是迄今为止最重要的举措.

在洛杉矶和整个旧金山湾区,针对高房价和咄咄逼人的房东策略的抗议活动已经爆发. And voters in two cities up north passed new limits on rent increases in November, 他们认为这是阻止急剧增长的一种方式,这种增长已经使中低收入家庭流离失所.

But cities can only go so far in capping rents — something AB 1506 seeks to change. “The momentum is very much on the side of rent control,” said Dean Preston, executive director of the statewide renters group Tenants Together. 该法案迅速遭到公寓业主的反对,可能在立法机构面临艰难的过程. Nevertheless, 反对者和支持者都将其视为萨克拉门托租金管制长期斗争的开始.

Specifically, the bill would repeal the landmark Costa-Hawkins Act, a 1995 law that an executive with the California Apartment Assn. referred to as the “saving grace” for landlords.

The law set ground rules for future and existing rent control ordinances, 包括禁止对独户住宅设置上限,并限制可以覆盖的公寓类型.

现在,制定条例的城市不能对2月之后建造的公寓进行控制. 1, 1995, and cities with controls at the time of Costa-Hawkins can’t extend their programs, usually meaning units built after the late 1970s can’t be covered.

The act also did away with tough regulations in five cities, including Santa Monica and West Hollywood, that limited rent increases even when an apartment was leased to new tenants. Now, landlords can charge market rates for vacant units, but increases are capped once a unit is occupied.

废除Costa-Hawkins不会立即改变地方政府的规定,但会让地方官员有更大的灵活性来制定新法律,并将其适用于更多的租赁单元. About 15 California cities have some form of rent control, including San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles.

The L.A. 该法律于1978年通过,一般适用于当年10月之前建造的建筑物. It allows landlords to charge market rent for a vacant unit, but then limits annual increases for tenants at 3% to 8%. “Costa-Hawkins provided relief for landlords, 但在这个过程中,我们看到租户的成本在不断上升,目前这种情况是无法维持的,需要解决这个问题,” said Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who introduced the bill with two colleagues and represents Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and parts of Los Angeles — all areas with rent control. 许多经济学家说,控制措施可能会加剧他们所认为的加州负担能力问题的根本原因:几十年来,加州的建筑数量太少,无法满足该州不断增长的人口需求,导致房屋短缺.

他们说,对房租上涨的限制阻止了居民——甚至是富裕的个人——搬家, 这是一种锁定效应,会给那些确实可用的公寓带来租金上涨的压力.

“It creates an artificial shortage,” said Paul Habibi, a real estate professor at UCLA who owns rent-controlled buildings in Los Angeles.

该法案的反对者还表示,如果Costa-Hawkins法案被废除,开发商担心新建筑将受到控制,住房产量可能会下降.

“We have a housing shortage,” said Earle Vaughan, an apartment owner and legislative chair for the California Rental Housing Assn., an industry trade group. “如果可以随时控制租金,你认为任何一个头脑正常的人会建公寓楼吗??”

该州无党派立法分析师办公室最近的一份报告称,鼓励私人住房开发是降低成本的更有效的政策工具.

If rent was capped for new developments, it “almost certainly would discourage home building,” said analyst Brian Uhler, who wrote the report. But if cities just put limits on more existing buildings, “the effects on home building would be less clear.” Bloom, 他与旧金山民主党议员大卫·邱和奥克兰民主党议员罗布·邦塔共同起草了该法案, 他表示,他愿意对他的法案进行修改,并将其描述为一项努力,以解决加州超过一半的租户支付被认为无法负担的租金的情况.

洛杉矶县的公寓租金中值在过去三年上涨了23%,达到2美元,390 in January, according to real estate firm Zillow. The statewide median was $2,346, up 26% from the beginning of 2014.

“Given the level of the crisis,” Bloom said, “this is a good time to take a step back and look at Costa-Hawkins for reform.”

房东们尤其担心的一个主要变化是,当一个单元空置时,他们将失去设定租金的能力. In the 1980s and early 1990s, such restrictions were credited with keeping Santa Monica relatively affordable, 不过,租金控制的批评者说,这也阻止了房东花钱进行维护, causing buildings to fall into disrepair. Jonathan J. 巴拉克经营着Vista Investment Group,该公司在洛杉矶拥有约750套租金管制单元. His costs often rise faster than he can raise rents on existing tenants, he said, 但是,在租户离开后,能够将租金提高到市场价,这使得保持房产的良好状态变得更容易. 其中包括修复回声公园(Echo Park)延森娱乐中心(Jensen’s Recreation Center)大楼及其46套公寓. When Vista purchased the 1920s building in 2014, 巴拉克说,管道和下水道“不断出现堵塞,管道不断破裂”,” but the problems are now fixed. He said refurbished studio apartments at the building are now going for about $1,700. 一些在该地区对富裕的年轻专业人士有吸引力之前就搬进来的长期租户支付的租金“远低于”1美元,000. “我们想让租户享受这栋建筑,但这需要在经济上合理,”巴拉克说. 在不控制租金的长滩,越来越多的租户看到了令人瞠目的上涨. One elderly tenant recently reported a $925 hike on a $1,100-a-month, two-bedroom unit, said Josh Butler, executive director of advocacy group Housing Long Beach. ”A rent increase of that magnitude is tantamount to an eviction,” he said.

Those stories are driving support for caps, as well as strong eviction protections that typically are elements of the ordinances. That’s particularly true in the expensive Bay Area with its explosion of tech wealth. In November, voters in Richmond and Mountain View, home of Google, approved rent control ordinances that the California Apartment Assn. is now fighting in court. Like most ordinances, 该法律将房价上涨与消费者价格指数的变化挂钩,并要求有“正当理由”驱逐——比如破坏房屋或不支付租金.

Beverly Hills also strengthened its current ordinance this year, reducing the maximum annual increase to 3% from 10%.

But with Costa-Hawkins in place, cities are limited in the number of units they can include for protection. Advocates say that’s a particular problem, 因为根据州法律,房东可以把租金管制的单元改造成共管公寓,从而摆脱租金管制, 或者把房子卖给开发商,让他们把房子拆平,建造豪华的待售房屋. In Los Angeles, 在今天火热的房地产市场上,业主已经拆除了数千个租金管制的单元, a dynamic that was a major focus of the debate surrounding Measure S, the anti-development initiative that failed on the March municipal ballot.

Larry Gross, who heads the local tenant group Coalition for Economic Survival, said expanding rent control is vital, because it provides tenants with a stability akin to homeowners with a fixed mortgage, giving lower- and middle-income folks a better shot at staying in expensive cities. Gross, who pushed for passage of L.A.’s law decades ago, 抨击了商业集团的断言,即如果科斯塔-霍金斯计划被废除,建筑业将会减少.

“Builders want to build here,” Gross said. “Rent control provides protection and levels the playing field.” No matter what happens in the Legislature this session, “at least we’ve finally been able to get the discussion [going],” he said.

黛布拉·卡尔顿,加州公寓协会负责公共事务的高级副总裁., said the group is taking the threat of a repeal “very seriously.” "I think it’s — unfortunately — the beginning of the conversation," she said.

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