California counties and cities cannot implement new and wider rent control policies as state legislation that would have expanded their ability to do so failed Thursday.
A law that prevents new changes in current rent control laws and new policies from being instituted could have been repealed, but a bill that would have done that was shot down after four members of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee chose not to support it, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The city of Los Angeles’ current rent control law can only be implemented on buildings built before October 1978; other cities and counties aren’t allowed to implement it on apartments built after Feb. 1 1995, the LA Times writes. The legislation that failed to pass would have allowed local governments to develop new rent control policies, which many housing advocates have proposed.
The rent control debate comes amid a housing shortage and concerns over rapid displacement. Low-income communities feel the impact of this the most with more than 1.5 million Californians paying more than half of their income on rent, according to the Times.
In Boyle Heights, 75 percent of residents are renters and nearly 88 percent of them are protected under rent control. However, a recent and controversial decision by one Boyle Heights apartment manager to raise rent by as much as $800 per month at 1815 East 2nd Street was possible because that building does not fall under rent control as it was built after 1978.
Some Boyle Heights students have reported that their families have had to move out of the neighborhood due to high rent prices, forcing them to take an hour-long commute to school.
Opponents of implementing new rent control policies say such regulations would slow housing production and incentivize new developments, worsening the housing shortage.
The Times reports that advocates could be planning a November 2018 ballot measure to repeal current restrictions on rent control.
Photo above: a Boyle Heights apartment complex built after 1978 does not fall under Los Angeles rent control law. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas