Renter Karen McBride has “simply tons” of stories to tell. As founder of advocacy group Monterey Bay Renters Coalition, McBride possesses pages of testimonies of skyrocketing rent increases and evictions. The latest is from a CSU Monterey Bay student faced with an increase a few months before graduation. She finished out the semester living out of her car.
McBride is hopeful that relief is coming through Assembly Bill 1482, passed earlier this month and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. He tweeted on Sept. 10, “The rent really IS too damn high. Too many are spending too much on their rent and living in fear of eviction.”
The bill is designed to cap annual rent increases at 5 percent, plus inflation, not to exceed 10 percent. Privately owned single-family homes, duplexes where the owner lives in one unit and units newer than 15 years old would be exempt. The bill also increases protections against evictions.
Monterey City Council passed voluntary rental guidelines in June that recommend a 10-percent cap, with no exclusions. City Manager Hans Uslar says the city will have to revisit the guidelines to reflect new state regulations.
Kevin Stone, CEO of the Monterey County Association of Realtors, claims that while a small number of renters may benefit, in the long run any form of rent control will decrease supply, encouraging renters to stay long term in controlled units and disincentivizing builders who will receive less return on investment.
“There really is no proven example, at least in the United States, of organized rent control ever working,” Stone says. “It actually drives up the cost of rents.”