California lawmakers overwhelmingly vote to pass bill capping costs of rent

California lawmakers overwhelmingly vote to pass bill capping costs of rent
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The California Assembly voted Wednesday to pass legislation that would make it illegal for landlords to raise the cost of rent by more than 5 percent in addition to inflation each year.

According to The Mercury News, the state Legislature passed the bill in a 43-28 vote. The bill will head to the state Senate for consideration, where, if passed, it could make California the second state in the country to pass laws mandating statewide rent control this year. 

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Under the bill, AB-1482, landlords would be prohibited from raising rental rates “in an amount that is greater than 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living, as defined, more than the lowest rental rate in effect for the immediately preceding 12 months, subject to specified conditions.”

“The bill would exempt from these provisions deed-restricted affordable housing, dormitories, housing that has been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous 10 years, and housing subject to a local ordinance that imposes a more restrictive rent increase cap than these provisions,” the bill text states.

“The bill would prohibit a landlord from terminating a tenancy for the purposes of avoiding these provisions and would create a rebuttable presumption that the termination of a tenancy is for the purposes of avoiding these provisions in the absence of a written statement showing cause for the termination,” it adds.

The move comes several months after Oregon became the first state in the country to pass a law that creates statewide rent control. That bill made it illegal for landlords to raise the price of rent by more than 7 percent plus inflation annually.

“It’s a very moderate measure that will guard against some of the more egregious practices that we’re seeing,” said California Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks (D) said ahead of the vote on Wednesday, according to The Mercury News.

If passed, the bill states that it would apply “to all rent increases occurring on or after March 15, 2019.”