Sacramento Tenants, Organizations Worry About Rising Rent Prices

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SACRAMENTO -- Calls for rent control in Sacramento got louder Saturday as activists held a tenant’s forum.

While many agree rising rents are a concern, some say rent control would just make the problem worse.

Rosalia Ramirez has a lot of complaints about her South Sacramento apartment.

Cockroaches and bats on-site aren’t uncommon, she told FOX40. However, when it comes to the one bedroom she shares with her three sons, her chief complaint is increasing rent.

“I was paying $595, in less than one year I’m paying $925 plus utilities," Ramirez said.

Ramirez was one of several speakers who voiced similar concerns at the forum. The crowd called for increased tenant protections in Sacramento, including rent control.

Many, including Herb Cross, president of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley, blame Sacramento’s housing shortage for driving up rent. He says Sacramento needs less regulations, not more to encourage builders.

“We're hoping that the governing entities will relax some of the regulations and the cost to build, so it becomes possible to build affordable housing," Cross said. "And that doesn't mean low-cost housing, but housing that's affordable across the spectrum."

“I'm all for affordable housing and I think we need more of it, but that can take five, ten, fifteen years to really get any kind of stock and we need to protect families who are here right now,” said Rae Vander Werf.

Vander Werf is an activist with Democratic Socialists of America. The organization, along with the Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, are asking the city of Sacramento to implement rent control and other tenant protections.

However, Cross says using rent control as an short term solution will make the housing shortage worse in the long term.

“With the threat of rent control developers are reluctant to build," Cross said. "It’s as simple as that."

FOX40 reached out to several offices within the city of Sacramento to see how the city will address calls for rent control. No city officials responded to FOX40's request for comment Saturday.