Costa Hawkins is a state law that sets requirements for the 15 cities in California with rent control, including Los Angeles. It protects a landlord’s right to raise the rent to market a unit once a tenant moves out. It prevents cities from establishing rent control on units constructed after February 1995.
What if Costa-Hawkins is Repealed?
If the Bill is repealed, local city governments would be able to change rent control laws to whatever they wish it to be, and for any building built in any year. Rent control laws would be expanded and intensified, especially in Los Angeles. It’s very important to notice that, Costa Hawkins puts sensible restrictions on local policies that might affect the state’s overall housing market.
A more strict rent control policy may discourage new construction by limiting the profitability of new rental housing and eventually creating a statewide housing shortage. In the short-term, cities would still need to go through the process of passing new legislation before the repeal have any effect. It’s unlikely the City of Los Angeles would go extreme with vacancy rent control restrictions, but they would certainly expand it.
With enormous opposition from landlords and representatives, supporters of the repeal measure face an uphill battle. Moreover, given the small number of California cities that actually impose rent control requirements, they may have a tough time convincing voters outside those cities.
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