Roundtable Weekly
California Law Reflects National Affordable Housing Trend in Rent Regulations
September 20, 2019

California lawmakers passed legislation (AB 1482) September 11 that imposes a statewide cap limiting annual rent increases to 5% after inflation – the latest measure from a growing list of jurisdictions seeking to address housing affordability though rent regulations.  California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has said he will sign the bill. (New York Times, Sept. 11 and NMHC, Sept. 12)

  • In a state of nearly 40 million people, California’s rent control measure could affect an estimated 8 million residents of rental homes and apartments. (Realtor Magazine, Sept. 12).  The 5% rent increase cap would not apply to housing built within the last 15 years or to single-family homes that are not corporate-owned. 
  • National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) President Doug Bibby responded, “After Californians overwhelmingly rejected the rent control ballot initiative less than a year ago, lawmakers today went against their constituents by passing a measure that will discourage investment, shrink the availability of affordable housing that already exists and squeeze even more people struggling in the housing market. This makes the problem worse. The housing affordability crisis is real, real Americans are being harmed by it every day and we need real solutions – not restrictive policies that we know don’t work." (NMHC news release, Sept. 12)
  • An interactive national map, above, by the NMHC details the trend in state capitals addressing rent control measures.   In New York, a rent control law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 14 directly impacts about 40 percent of New York City's apartment stock; freezes "stabilized" NYC apartments from moving to market rental rates; and discourages owners from modernizing aging housing.  (Wall Street Journal, June 14 and Roundtable Weekly, June 21).
  • Meanwhile, candidates on the 2020 campaign trail are offering plans to address the nation's affordable housing needs. (NPR, June 18)  
  • Affordable housing proposals in Congress include an expansion of the low-income housing tax credit program (e.g., S. 1703,  H.R. 3077), and a similar tax credit geared to moderate-income, workforce housing (S. 3365, 115th Cong.).

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently offered a strategy to boost affordable housing by encouraging localities to ease their own building restrictions. (Politico, June 14).  Secretary Carson is scheduled to discuss housing policy issues with Roundtable members during the organization’s Fall Meeting on October 30 in Washington.

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