Some Californians in Favor of Rent Control Want to Eliminate Statewide Housing Act

ROSEVILLE -- An activist out of Los Angeles is looking to inspire voters to overturn a 20-year-old housing act law that limits what cities can do as far as rent control.

"Our rent was $1,200 and then they jacked it up to $1,500," said Sherri Pope.

When it comes to rental prices Pope is not alone. A recent study by RENTCafe says the cost of an apartment in the Sacramento area jumped 8.5 percent since last year at this time.

Now there's a man in Southern California who's trying to get voters to change that.

"This legislation would repeal that law and give control over regulations back to the cities," said Michael Weinstein.

Weinstein is the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. The activist says he already has 25 percent of the signatures needed for a potential voter initiative on November's ballot. His goal is to eliminate the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that says cities can only control rents on certain types of properties.

"The market is not providing the shelter that people need and you have huge numbers of people who are paying more than 50 percent of their income in rent," Weinstein said.

The idea has its opponents, however.

"Of course, any economist will tell you it's a horrible idea," said Debra Carlton, who is with the California Apartment Association.

Carlton says her organization is against overturning the housing act, which does not allow cities to exercise rent control on complexes built after 1995 or single family homes.

Carlton believes without the housing act developers have very little incentive to build new and much needed apartments.

"Certainly help people in their units at that moment, but what it won't do is encourage new construction so that our economy can continue to grow," she said. "And it won't help our college students coming out of college because there will be no place for them to live."