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Norma Sanchez and her family

The battle over rent control in the East Bay

on May 10, 2018

As rents and home prices continue to skyrocket across California, a major ballot fight is brewing between tenants and the real estate industry over the state rent control law Costa Hawkins. The law prohibits cities from implementing rent control on single family homes as well as homes or apartments built after 1995 (or the year the city passed it’s rent control law, which, in Oakland, is 1983), resulting in 100% or more rent increases for tenants in these dwellings. The law also prohibits vacancy control, which means there are no regulations on how much landlords can charge new tenants moving in.

Tenants rights groups across the state have just submitted an initiative, which they expect to qualify for the November ballot, that will ask voters to repeal the law and return rent control policy making to local jurisdictions. While they have support from some landlord groups, they face opposition from real estate investors, developers, builders, and landlords who are opposed to the possibility of increased rent control.

Watch the video to learn more.


  1. Theresa on May 11, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Angry activist beware of what you wish for….repealing Costa Hawkins is not the answer. I believe there are compromises that could be achieved if both sides could work together and find agreeable solutions that could benefit both owners and tenants. I have been a small landlord for over 40 years. My units are currently in a city without rent control; if Costa Hawkins is repealed I will be forced to rethink my property investments in California, which supplement my retirement. To completely repeal this act will take California housing development back to what it was before, which was no or few residential housing developments in cities with rent control. How will this be better? Repealing this one act will cause a bigger housing crisis. The unknown risk to build along with unknown local and state rent control laws will discourage developers and investors. The risk will be too high. There are more positive solutions. You don’t build community with threats and anger. You build it together.

    • ritchie on May 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      It’s not the answer? Then what in Sam Hill is ?Our incompetent , lazy, “job providers” oligarchs would be all for this if they could figure out a way to make some money off rent control. They can’t even get simple projects though not because of safe guards (what they call regulations) , but because they are few in # and spend too much time at the golf course.More income equality = more housing.

      • Commenter on May 11, 2018 at 10:46 pm

        You don’t know what you’re talking about Ritchie, and your senseless post demonstrates so.
        The overwhelming majority of economists will tell you these rent control laws do more harm than good. Stanford just did a study that comes to the same conclusion. That’s not to say there isn’t room for reasonable rent control measures and renter protections. But Richmond’s Measure L and this repeal of Costa Hawkins has nothing to do with either.
        Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

      • John on June 4, 2018 at 8:50 pm

        I agree, you’re an idiot.

  2. John on May 16, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Anyone who supports the repeal of Costa Hawkins should take very close look at how much multi-family housing was built in cities like Berkeley between the implementation of rent control and the passage of Costa Hawkins. The short answer is almost none.

    Costa Hawkins was a huge help in restarting multi-family development in places like Berkeley and its repeal would be a complete disaster for renters throughout the state.

  3. Paula Helene on June 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    In Richmond the apartment I rent is under rent control. The landlord can raise the rent 3.6% EVERY YEAR. If for instance rent is $1500 a landlord can increase $54 – the following year $55.94 – Now in those two years rent has gone up $109.94. Has my salary gone up $110 a month, no, has anyone’s? NO. Just how much do you want an increase to be if that isn’t enough? I know people have property for retirement income, but….

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