As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its deadly course and in response to the devastating impact it is having on employment and the economy, advocates will press CA Governor Gavin Newsom and the state legislature to suspend the law that limits rent control in nearly all of California
Suspension of Costa-Hawkins would allow cities and counties to expand and strengthen rent control statewide, helping millions in the nation’s shuttered economy now struggling with housing costs; Housing group is willing to withdraw November’s Rental Affordability Act if state suspends Costa-Hawkins
LOS ANGELES (April 22, 2020) In response to the crippling economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having in California, housing justice advocates and backers of the Rental Affordability Act (RAA), a November 2020 state ballot initiative that will allow for expansion of rent control throughout California, have launched a high profile advocacy campaign to press California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state legislature to suspend the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995, a law that currently prevents rent control in nearly all of California.
In a letter sent to the Governor’s office today, backers of the RAA indicated that they would even withdraw the ballot measure should Newsom and the legislature suspend the 1995 law, writing: “In the spirit of cooperation, we will withdraw our initiative from the November 2020 ballot if the state enacts a suspension of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.”
COVID-19 has thrown California’s economy into free fall, with over 2.3 million new unemployment claims filed in the three weeks following the declaration of a state of emergency. Suspension of Costa-Hawkins would allow local cities and towns to institute some forms of rent control throughout California to help some of the millions who have lost jobs and income in the nation’s shuttered economy. It would also help many others already struggling with the state’s notorious housing costs, including the nearly 30% of California households who spend half their income on rent.
WHAT: PRESS TELECONFERENCE: Housing justice advocates and Rental Affordability Act backers press Gov. Newsom and the California Legislature to SUSPEND the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 and allow rent control measures locally in the state
WHEN: THURSDAY, April 23, 2020 — 10:00 am PT
Teleconference Dial in information: +1.877.411.9748 participant code #7134323
WHO: Rene Moya, Director, Housing Is A Human Right and Campaign Director, Rental Affordability Act (RAA) Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the primary backer of RAA
Susan Shannon, Policy Director, Rental Affordability Act (RAA)
Other Speakers TBD
Ruthie Thomas, Communications Director, Rental Affordability Act (RAA)
[email protected] (310) 663-4159 cell
Ged Kenslea, AHF Communications Dir., [email protected] (323) 791-5526 cell
“California’s housing and homelessness crises are also now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. We all need to come together to address the scale of the challenge before us,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AHF, the organization sponsoring the Rental Affordability Act ballot initiative. “Right now, our cities are shackled by this outdated rental housing law from further limiting rent increases. Suspending Costa-Hawkins would allow cities and counties to pass more robust rent controls to limit rent increases and protect more renters from displacement. We must do everything in our power to bring stability and relief to renters at this critical time. So, in the spirit of cooperation, we will withdraw our initiative from the November 2020 ballot if the state enacts a suspension of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.”
“More than ever, the precarious position of renters in California is being put into stark relief. Now is not the time for half measures – this is the worst economic crisis confronted by renters in a century,” added René Christian Moya, Housing Is A Human Right and Rental Affordability Act Campaign Director. “California was already experiencing a historic crisis of housing affordability before COVID-19. Our elected officials must be bold to protect our state’s 17 million renters.”
The Rental Affordability Act
When passed, The Rental Affordability Act will remove current restrictions in state law, giving cities and counties the power to implement and expand rent control policies that limit how much rents can increase each year. It would allow local communities to:
- Expand rent control to more buildings while exempting newly constructed buildings.
- Exempts Single-Family homeowners who own up to two homes.
- Allow limits on rent increases when a new renter moves in.
Housing Is A Human Right (HHR), is the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), and the leading sponsor of the RAA. The measure has the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders, labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a suite of California’s most well-regarded tenant advocacy and social justice organizations, including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Eviction Defense Network, as well as major labor unions, such as UNITE HERE Local 11.
The rent control ballot measure has gained increasing urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of Californians already struggling with the state’s high housing costs have now lost work and income in the nation’s shuttered economy.
The Rental Affordability Act is sponsored by Homeowners & Tenants United, with significant funding by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
To find out more about the campaign to suspend Costa-Hawkins, please visit: http://protectrentersnow.org/
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