By Da Lin

ALAMEDA (KPIX) – California could soon have state-wide rent control.

Governor Gavin Newsom reached an agreement with large landlord and tenant advocacy groups to advance a rent control bill.

Assemblyman David Chiu authored the bill. The newly revised deal would cap the annual rent increases at 5% plus the rate of inflation. The total increase cannot surpass 10%.

“We’ve been to Sacramento a lot. That bear outside of the governor’s office and I are besties,” said Richmond tenant Elsa Stevens.

She and many other tenant advocates having been going to Sacramento to pressure the governor to pass more tenant protection laws. She said this is a positive step forward in protecting tenants from sharp increases, especially for people living in cities that don’t have a rent control ordinance.

“It’s state wide rent control. It’s not strong, but it’s something,” said Stevens.

But some advocates said this is a weak bill, saying the yearly rent increases will eventually add up and become unaffordable. They pointed out the bill would fail to protect seniors and people living on a fixed income.

Seniors at the Heritage Park apartment complex in Richmond recently convinced their landlord to reduce a 5% rent hike down to 3%.

“We don’t get raises [from the Social Security Administration] as often as [landlords] want to increase the rents,” said Vincent Justin, a disabled senior who lives at Heritage Park.

Many landlords also don’t like the bill.

Realtor Guy Blume said he sold his rental house in Alameda because of the city’s new rent control law. He believed rent control will discourage people from building more housing and result in even higher rents.

“It doesn’t solve the long term problem of the housing crisis,” said Blume. “Rent control will affect supply and demand. There’s going to be less real estate to invest in and there are going to be less rental properties to rent from.”

Neither side is happy, and lawmakers see that as a sign of a good compromise. Supporters believed this time, they’ll have enough votes from lawmakers to pass a state-wide rent control law.

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