Oakland residents rally to change rent control law

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of tenants rallied in Oakland, Los Angeles and Sacramento on Monday in support of a ballot initiative they say would slow skyrocketing rents in cities across the state.

With signs that read "rent is too damn high," housing affordability advocates rallied in the front steps of Oakland City Hall to call for an end to California's rent control law.

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"Our communities are facing incredible rates of displacement. People are pushed out and some of them end up homeless," said Oakland councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.

Proponents pushing to repeal Costa-Hawkins say they have enough signatures to place the issue before voters this November. They say the law allows landlords to raise rent to market levels after a tenant moves out of single family homes, condos and apartments built after 1995.

"They said in the 90s, when they passed this, it would result in more affordable housing. It had the absolutely opposite effect," said Delaine Eastin, California gubernatorial candidate who supports the repeal effort.

The proposed ballot initiative would do away with the current law that also makes it illegal for cities to adopt certain kinds of rent control ordinances.

Opponents say placing stricter rent control rules is not the answer. "The prices are high but we don't agree with repealing Costa Hawkins completely in order to help solve that crisis," said Krista Gulbransen, executive director of the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition.

If the repeal effort goes through, she says rental units won't be as available.

"We know owners won't be able to afford to stay in business," said Gulbransen.

All submitted signatures must be verified before the issue can go before voters.

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