A statewide “anti-rent gouging bill” that would expand rent-control rights in Los Angeles –and would add that protection to thousands of units in Boyle Heights– moved closer to approval this week in the state Senate.

AB 1482, a bill that would restrict evictions and impose a statewide rent cap, advanced through its first senate committee meeting on Tuesday.  Curbed LA reported that the bill was heard by the senate judiciary committee during a marathon session and it was finally approved close to midnight.

Supporters of AB 1482, including a representative for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, packed the Sacramento Capitol on Tuesday afternoon to voice their opinions and support for the measure. 

Known as the “Rent Cap” bill, the measure from Assemblymember David Chiu would restrict yearly rent increases to 7% plus the Consumer Price Index, which averages 2.5%. It would also allow landlords to evict tenants for “just cause,” which could be failure to pay rent, causing a nuisance or criminal activity on the property.

Only units 10 years or older would be covered by the bill and landlords owning 10 or fewer single-family homes would be exempt. The protections provided by the bill would last up until 2023. 

While the rent control provisions in the bill would mostly benefit jurisdictions without these protections, even cities like Los Angeles –with a severe accesible housing shortage– would benefit from the bill. Current rent control in Los Angeles only covers apartments built before 1978, so the new law would expand the benefit to thousands of tenants in the city. The bill would also add rent control to single-family units, which are currently exempt by state law.

Graphic by Terner Center for Housing Innovation shows rental housing units in Boyle Heights.

A recent analysis from the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley found that as many as 20,000 housing units in Boyle Heights would receive new renter protections under AB 1482. 

While supporters of the measure say rental protection would keep monthly rents from skyrocketing, opponents of the bill say that adequate housing supply would better protect against rent price hikes.

The bill, which has already been approved in the Assembly, is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee. If it passes that committee, it would move on to the full Senate for a vote. The bill would still have to be signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Photo above: Residents of a Boyle Heights apartment building, including Mariachi musicians, protest increase in rent and eviction notices in 2017. Photo by Ermesto Orozco

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