“THE rent is too damn high,” read the signs brandished by tenant advocates at rallies held in late April in Oakland (median monthly rent: $2,950), Los Angeles (median monthly rent: $2,700), and Sacramento (median monthly rent: $1,895). The activists gathered, along with local politicians, to announce that they had collected the signatures necessary to include a proposal on California’s November ballot that would pave the way for cities to expand rent control. This, they feel, is the only way to mitigate the shortage of affordable housing in the state. The measure will seek to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a law passed in 1995 that places restrictions on local rent controls. It bars the 15 Californian cities that have them from introducing rent control in buildings constructed after 1995, and freezes previous municipal rent-control ordinances in place.
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