A proposal from the state assemblymember representing Santa Monica to control rising rents won’t move forward this year.
Assemblyman Richard Bloom canceled a Thursday public hearing on his bill to change a 1995 state law that blocks rent control on apartments built after that year and on all single-family homes. His goal is to continue working on the bill and bring it back next year.
“I have moved AB 36 to the Assembly Rules Committee so we can continue to work towards reasonable reforms to Costa-Hawkins to deliver meaningful protections to the millions of California renters who are struggling to remain housed,” Bloom said in a statement.
Bloom introduced the bill in March after a proposition to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act failed at the ballot box failed last November. Proponents of Proposition 10 pledged to put a similar measure on the 2020 ballot if state lawmakers don’t find a way to expand rent control to newer buildings and single-family homes.
Bloom told The Daily Press last month that he believes Prop. 10 failed because it proposed a blanket change in rent control law. He sees his bill, which would bring all buildings and homes older than 10 years old under rent control, with an exception for small landlords, as more nuanced.
“The bill proposes some changes in rent control that are much more modest than what has been proposed in the past,” he said in March. “Nothing is mandated by A.B. 36. It allows local governments to take advantage of these provisions if they want to. Some cities will, some won’t, but it doesn’t mandate adoption of a rent-control ordinance.”
He also said he would meet with property owners while crafting the legislation to reach a consensus on how it would impact the statewide housing shortage. Landlords associations like the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles have said the bill would incentivize landlords to get out of the rental business and discourage developers from building new housing.
“We see around the state where we have rent-controlled jurisdictions where housing production continues apace,” Bloom said. “Santa Monica is a good example.”
Building more housing is one solution to the housing crisis, he added, but not the only one.
“The 1.4 million unit shortage that needs to be made up is not going to happen overnight, so the question we’re trying to address here is: How do we help those tenants who are faced with eviction today because of increasing housing costs?,” he said. “There are 160,000 families in California faced with eviction on an annual basis.”
Bloom’s bill was introduced alongside a set of other tenant protection bills that called for policies that Santa Monica has already enacted, including a rental registry and just-cause evictions. A bill by Assemblymember David Chiu of San Francisco to put an annual cap on rent increases is moving forward.