Advocates Garner Support to Get Rent Control on November Ballot

SACRAMENTO -- There's no doubt about it, rent in Sacramento is going up.

According to RENTCafé, the average rent for an apartment in Sacramento is up by 9 percent compared to last year.

At the front line of the battle to bring down Sacramento's skyrocketing rents was Ava Nadal.

"Well we're out here today trying to get signatures because of rent control, and rent is going so high," Nadal said to a resident while going door to door Saturday.

Nadal and her husband were collecting signatures for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, signatures which could put rent control on the November ballot.

"All you have to do is say rent control and you don't even have to ask them to sign the petition now, they want to sign the petition now," Ava Nadal said.

It's all part of a larger effort to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Housing Act, a California law on the books for more than 20 years, which limits where local governments can enact rent control.

"Any buildings that were built after 1995 are exempted from having any type of rent control," said Fernando Nadal.

Rapidly rising rental prices are a problem the Nadals are all too familiar with.

"I was forced out of my home, out of a senior community two years ago," Ava Nadal told FOX40. "I pay double what everybody on my block pays to rent a house right now in the Fruitridge, Elder Creek area."

Last summer, a survey found Sacramento's year to year rent growth was more than three times the national average.

"We had a family show up who had lived in their home for 10 years and one day the corporation bought their house and their rent was increased $1,500 at one time," Ava Nadal said. "I don't think any of us can afford a $1,500 increase where we live."

The problem is there's just a 2 percent vacancy rate in Sacramento, according to city hall.

But the local rental housing association warns bringing rent control to the area would scare away investors, and with them the capital to build new homes. Thus making the city's problems worse.

Meanwhile, ACCE is continuing to train signature gatherers across the state.

"I know we're going to get these signatures signed," Ava Nadal said.

Last July, Sacramento Mayor Darrel Steinberg told FOX40 he doesn't want to rush bringing rent control to the city out of fear that it could bring unintended consequences.