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More than most states, California is plagued by rising housing costs.
Recently California lawmakers approved a statewide rent cap, covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing in the state.
California’s housing activists won a major victory in mid-September when the state legislature passed, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Oct. 8, 2019.
The New Housing Law
The new law is also know as Assembly Bill 1482.
The key features of the new law are:
- The new law will limit annual rent hikes to 5% plus the regional cost-of-living increase, or a maximum of 10% per year.
- Tenants will also receive eviction protections after living in an apartment for a year, meaning they cannot be ousted without a reason such as failing to pay rent, breaching a rental agreement, creating a nuisance or engaging in criminal activity.
- Owners will also be barred from evicting tenants unless they can prove “just cause,” such as failing to pay rent, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Housing problems in California
According to the 2018 annual homeless assessment report, California state accounts for about half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population of roughly 200,000.
Nearly half of all unsheltered people in the
country were in California.
In the U.S., the three major city with highest percentage of homeless population were in California, Fresno (89%), Los Angeles (85%), and San Jose (82%).
California also accounted for 54% of all unsheltered homeless unaccompanied youth in the country.
According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, more than 17 million Californians now rent their homes. This includes an increasing number of middle-class families and the typical California family needs to earn $34.69 an hour to afford the typical two-bedroom apartment.
Many studies show that in California, the price caps often prompt landlords to abandon the rental business by converting their units to owner-occupied homes and till now the rent controls typically have no income threshold, they have been faulted for benefiting high-income tenants.
Check out how our Salud Hero, Joseph Smooke and Dyan Ruiz have used the media to show the harsh impact of unaffordable housing in San Francisco.
See how you can help improve housing justice for Latinos and all people!