Annual rent increases in California apartment buildings will be capped under a new law passed by state lawmakers last week. The bill, which limits yearly rent increases to 5 percent plus inflation, or a maximum of 10 percent, was approved about a year after California voters rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed cities to expand rent-control policies of their own. It represents another chapter in the resurgent campaign for rent regulation in the United States.
The bill was introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu, of San Francisco, who has authored other housing bills, including the first state law aimed at protecting undocumented tenants from harassment and retaliation by their landlords. The rent cap would apply to most rental units built 15 years ago or more, except for those in single-family homes, or in duplexes in which the owner occupies one of the units. Over the last year, inflation in San Francisco and Los Angeles was between 2.7 percent and 3 percent, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. So under the new law, landlords could raise rents 7.7 or 8 percent for the year, or about $160 per month on a $2,000-a-month apartment.