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Rent Control Advocates Gather Enough Signatures for November Ballot

SACRAMENTO -- Hundreds of people from around California took to the streets of Sacramento Monday, advocating for rent control in their state.

Activists with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment marched through downtown Sacramento and right into the lobby of the Senator Hotel on l Street. It's the building where the California Association of Realtors has their offices.

"Every time we turn around it's the California Realtors Association or even the Apartment Association that is coming out fighting laws that would help protect tenants," said Richmond Vice Mayor Melvin Willis.

Willis is also an organizer with ACCE.

"So this was our way of holding them accountable because they will definitely be going after the repeal Costa Hawkins to make sure that it's not going to happen," Willis said.

The Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act is a 20-year-old law that prohibits rent control on buildings constructed after 1995, as well as on stand-alone, single-family homes. In January, a repeal of the law failed, dying in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

Now, Willis said ACCE has gathered enough signatures to place it on the ballot in November.

"So far to date we have 588,000 signatures," he said. "That number way exceeds the actual requirements, so it will be happening."

But opponents at CAA warn rent control could only make things worse.

"For those of us that have been trying to increase the supply of housing, which is the real solution, rent control and spreading it to single-family homes is just going to scare people out of the market," said Jim Lofgren, senior vice president of CAA.

"The problem is building housing takes time and people need to solve the housing crisis right now," Willis said.