Union Leaders Stand Behind New ‘Rent Stabilization’ Measure

SACRAMENTO -- Union leaders from Sacramento's Service Employees Union and the Central Labor Council are jumping into the campaign to gather signatures for a Sacramento city measure to control rents and evictions as a part of an 80-member housing coalition.

"Our housing costs are impacting the people that make our city run, our nurses, our teachers," said Veronica Beaty with the Sacramento Housing Alliance.

They call it a rent stabilization rather than rent control. It would allow rents to go up with inflation at around two to five percent per year and would give an elected housing board the power to allow increases for major improvements by landlords.

The group criticizes out of town corporate landlords that dominate the rental market.

"They'll spend it in the local economy, creating jobs and supporting quality public services," said Fabrizio Sasso with the Sacramento Central Labor Council.

Marie Camancho says she's a victim of eviction for profit. She said her corporate landlord was trying to evict her so they could raise the rent on a higher end tenant. The proposal discourages no-fault evictions.

"That will prevent my landlord from evicting me for no reason because I'm a good tenant," Camancho said.

Landlord groups are already opposing the measure, saying builders need a profit incentive to build much needed new housing. But some say housing is being built in rent-controlled cities.

"It's a myth to think that developers won't build be building simply because there is rent stabilization," Sasso said.

That point will be debated heavily, especially if the measure gets enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.