City Leaders Offer More Options to Ease Rent Control Debate in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento is in the middle of a housing crisis, a problem that does not come with an easy answer.

Even Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, a city leader who takes his mediation skills very seriously, admits the issue is a tough one.

“I cannot deliver you a packaged agreement here,” Steinberg told those attending Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The city manager’s office says about 25 percent of Sacramento renters pay more than 50 percent of their household income on rent, adding that Sacramento’s eviction rate is more than twice the state average.

For some, the answer is rent control in a growing city.

“We need to make sure that all can afford rent,” said Wanda Cleveland.

Others say rent control will stop construction on new housing units because profits will not be what potential builders are looking for.

“Nobody else is going to want to move out of their rent-controlled apartment and there will be no new supply,” realtor Patrick Stelmach said.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting the mayor offered an option of an annual 5 percent rent cap on units built before 1999.

Council members Eric Guerra, Steve Hansen and Rick Jennings countered with a plan of their own. Their idea would require landlords to offer 18-month lease contracts where rent could not increase during that time.

But both sides agree something needs to happen — and soon.

CORRECTION: On Tuesday night, realtor Patrick Stelmach, of Turton Commercial Real Estate, identified himself on camera to FOX40 News as a renter and made no mention of what he does professionally. We have updated this story to reflect his position. FOX40 has also reached out to Stelmach but did not immediately hear back.