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San Diego Landlords Could Face Historic Rent Control Legislation

The Marlborough Plaza apartment complex pictured on April 24, 2019.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: The Marlborough Plaza apartment complex pictured on April 24, 2019.

In San Diego, landlords can increase a tenant's rent by any amount when their lease expires, as long as they give the required legal notice to their renters, but that could all change if Assembly Bill 1482 becomes law. The bill would ban landlords from increasing rents by more than 5% per year plus the rate of inflation. Currently, the city of San Diego has no local rent control ordinance.

Ginger Hitzke, an affordable housing developer, says the bill is a step in the right direction. "My biggest issue is with folks who are buying up existing apartment complexes... that have a potential upside for rent, so they'll go in, they'll throw in a new kitchen... and just immediately jack up the rent," she said. "What value did that really just add to society? What did you really do? You didn't really do anything, you just found an opportunity in the market and you exploited it."

Video: San Diego Landlords Could Face Historic Rent Control Legislation

RELATED: Rent Nearly Doubles At One City Heights Apartment Complex

Some think the bill doesn't do enough. Catherine Mendonca is an organizer with the San Diego Tenant's Union, a group based in City Heights that advocates for tenants' rights.

"Even if tenants are facing an 8% increase lets just say that's the 5% increase plus inflation due to the anti-gouging bill, that can still be detrimental if somebody is having to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, for food, for transportation, for pretty much just regular living expenses," she said.

The union says it is pushing for a San Diego city ordinance that would cap rent increases at 2% every year. Groups representing landlords and businesses also oppose the bill saying it would slow new home construction.

The bill has advanced to the California assembly floor for a vote. If it passes, it will need approval from the state senate and the governor to become law. If Governor Newsom signs the bill, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

RELATED: California Lawmakers Try Again To Tamp Down Rising Rents

A bill that could limit rent increases in California is one step closer to becoming law.

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