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How bad is California’s housing crisis for renters?

A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Diego, Ca., Oct. 30, 2018.
KPBS Staff
A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Diego, Ca., Oct. 30, 2018.

Things don’t look great for tenants in California.

After more than two years, statewide eviction protections are over, and landlords will be allowed to bump up rents on some apartments by as much as 10% come Aug. 1 — the maximum allowed under state law thanks to ballooning inflation rates.

As with any California housing crisis story, though, it’s complicated. In some cities, the end of statewide eviction laws has meant the start of even stronger local protections, such as bans on evictions over non-payment of rent in Los Angeles and San Francisco.


And if you’re lucky enough to live in a rent-controlled unit in Los Angeles — which make up about three quarters of the rental stock in the city — rent hikes are also prohibited until at least next summer.

Confused? So are tenants and landlords.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon walk through the patchwork of laws with Ari Chazanas, a landlord who manages about 1,000 apartments across Los Angeles, and Kamilah Miller, a child care worker in Antioch in the East Bay who’s long battled housing insecurity.

“It felt like you almost needed to take a college course breaking down and analyzing what you can do and what you can’t do, and it’s still confusing for the most part,” Chazanas said.

Meanwhile, Miller, one of the hundreds of thousands of tenants helped by the state’s rent relief program, worries about making next month’s rent.


“I don’t have it coming up,” she said. “I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do next month. And it’s not even next month. We’re counting down the days.”