In the fervor of our housing crisis, State Assemblyman David Chiu (D.San Francisco) has re-introduced bills, which would permit cities to enact even stricter rent control ordinances.

Currently, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (1995) permits “vacancy de-control, “meaning landlords can raise rents to market rates when a rent-controlled unit is vacated. New units and single family homes are exempt from rent control.

The Law pre-empts local ordinances. But Chiu’s AB 1506 would (1)extend the restricted pricing upon vacancy, (2) extends rent control to single family residences, and (3)imposes the same rent controls on newly constructed units. C.A.R states: Rent control deters new construction of rental housing, decreases equity, sales, and capital appreciation, and inhibits maintenance of rental property leading to substandard housing. Further, rent control serves in practice to subsidize the rent of many tenants who can otherwise afford market rents. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development but has not been set for a hearing yet. Chiu is a former Board of Supervisor and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor San Francisco.

The Harvard Law graduate served as Democratic Counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee before moving to California in 1996. He is currently Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore , the 3rd highest ranking position in the California Assembly, and a member of the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus.

Alice McHugh