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Dozens from Across California Pack Rent Control Hearing

SACRAMENTO -- Beleaguered renters who are being priced out of their apartments packed a joint legislative hearing Thursday looking into the implications of repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which restricts cities from creating rent controls.

The committee was told that rent control helps keep communities together by allowing people to live where they work instead of being forced into long commutes by rising rents.

"That helps nobody, that breaks up families," said Oakland City Council Member Dan Kalb. "It's not good for the environment, it's not good for families, it's not good for anybody, except people who sell gasoline."

Los Angeles renter Sheri Eddings said her rent was raised $1,000 in two years.

"A lot of people are on the streets, families because they were priced out of their homes," Eddings said.

But landlords and real estate groups have already stopped building thousands of badly needed units, fearing that a repeal of Costa-Hawkins prevents them from making a profit and there are unintended consequences.

"Will increase rents in neighboring communities, will turn housing over to people who are not in need and will increase blight and homelessness," said Debra Carlton of the Apartment Owners Association.

But renters still lined up to back the repeal.

Rent control opponents brought their own supporters, including small landlords from San Francisco who suffered under rent control.

"I'm not rolling in dough, no," said San Francisco landlord Roxanne Albertoli. "My tenants can take vacations but I have to think twice."

Albertoli might sell her three rent-controlled units to a condominium developer. That would reduce the number of rentals on the market, which is what opponents of rent control say would happen.