Lately, the news has been all about housing affordability and the need for more housing throughout the state. What you may not be aware of is legislation being proposed in Sacramento that pertains to housing density and also state-imposed rent control. In my opinion, the proposed bills will not solve current housing issues, and will likely make things worse as it has in other states.
In the wake of recent fires throughout the state, stopgap measures were put in place to prevent predatory landlord practices. Now Statewide Rent Control is being proposed. This will make it harder for landlords to perform necessary tenant evictions; and will make it less likely for landlords to upgrade, or even perform necessary maintenance to existing properties. My fear is that, in the long run, rent control will make California less affordable, not more affordable, as has been the case in other cities where rent control is in affect, with San Francisco and New York City being prime examples.
In March of this year, legislation is also in the works to increase housing density near transportation hubs. The proposed SB 50 is something to pay attention to, as it would impact suburban neighborhoods across the state. For example, if passed, developers could build multi-unit housing in areas that are currently zoned for single-family homes. New zoning could vary substantially as transit service levels fluctuate, and may affect noise levels, parking, traffic, and property values. Any rapid increase in population in some cities could cause significant issues with city services such as police, fire and infrastructure like sewer and water.
We need more housing, and we should look at community planning and density. These decisions should be made locally, however, not at the state level. Let the local communities remain in control, as they know best what is needed for their area. Obviously, we should be looking to build more in California, and where appropriate, build multifamily housing, or even expand single-family construction, to meet each individual community’s needs.
Contact your state legislator and let your opinion to be known regarding SB50 and rent control measures. We live in one of the most beautiful and desirable places in the nation, that just happens to be highly regulated. It is our responsibility to stay informed about what’s happening in local government and on the state level. We all have a part to play, it is important that our voices are heard.
Eric P. Hoglund, RMP, SRES, GRI, Broker Associate. California BRE Lic.# 01420325, Estey Real Estate & Property Management