In Case You Missed It: "Rent-Reduction Bill a Vast Abuse of Power"

Bill Will Make California’s Housing Crisis Worse
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Orange County Register published an op-ed earlier this week by columnist Steven Greenhut explaining why the California State Legislature should oppose Assembly Bill 828 (Ting), which purports to protect tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Greenhut writes, “Rents are high because there’s not enough of it available. AB 828…could bankrupt some owners and force others out of the business and thus reduce the available stock.” Click here to read the op-ed.

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) opposes AB 828 because of the negative consequences it would create in the housing market. She said, “I share the author’s desire to help renters genuinely affected by COVID-19, but AB 828 is not the answer. The bill would sanction a de facto government taking of private property which would ultimately reduce the amount of housing available in California in the long run.”

AB 828’s author first introduced the bill in February 2019 to address human trafficking. The State Assembly unanimously approved it in April 2019, where the bill then sat dormant in the State Senate until this month, when the author gutted and amended it to unconstitutionally force a 25 percent reduction in rents and make it even more difficult for property owners to manage their properties.

California currently provides several protections to renters during the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • A statewide halt on evictions of all types;
  • A state of emergency that caps rents;
  • Local measures that freeze rents and provide extended deferrals of unpaid rent; and
  • State and local rent control laws that, in some cases for years, have limited rent increases to less than inflation.

Others have made the case against AB 828, including the California Globe’s Katy Grimes in a piece titled, “Bill to Reduce California Rents by 25% Using Coronavirus Crisis as Opportunity to Erode Property Rights.”

The California Apartment Association also explained its opposition to the bill in a detailed letter to its author.

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene on May 4, 2020, although this date is subject to change due to the evolving situation with COVID-19.