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Sacramento City Council Passes Rent Control Measure

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento City council passed a rent control measure Tuesday night.

Mayor Steinberg pushed the ordinance as a way to deal with rising rent and a lack of affordable housing in the area that's causing a homeless crisis.

Renter Rogina Engebretsen was glad to see Sacramento City Council pass the Tenant Protection and Relief Act, which will limit rent increases to no more than six percent each year plus inflation, with a cap at 10%.

The law will be in effect for five years and does not apply to single-family homes.

"I don't know if I'm going to have a place to live or not. I'm scared," Engebretsen said.

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Engebretsen and her husband are both disabled. They live in Curtis Park and pay $800 a month for a two-bedroom house.

"My landlord keeps telling me she could raise our rent," she said.

As a result, the couple has been looking for another place.

"I can't afford anything. To have something I could afford would be helpful," Engebretsen said.

Although Engebretsen wanted more out of the ordinance, she said it will do because for those on a fixed income like her, having fixed rent is key to keeping off the streets.

The ordinance also bans tenants from being evicted without notice if they've lived in the unit for more than a year. The new law will impact approximately 42,000 apartments and duplexes built before 1995.

Opponents were frustrated with the law.

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"It's definitely not strong enough to keep a family in their home, local income families that are being pushed to the street," Jovanna Fajardo with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment said.

Councilmembers in favor said it's a start and that something had to be done given that homelessness is up 52% in the Sacramento in the last two years. But many landlords say it's an invasion of private property rights.

"I'm 60. I got in in my 20's because I know how it worked and what to expect when I retire. This is a bunch of rule-changing at the last minute," said Chris Airola.

Airola is president of the Rental Owners Association. He is also a property manager. He said landlords have enough costs with repairs and maintenance and shouldn't have to foot the bill for enforcement of rent control.

"This is the beginning of a very long battle in Sacramento," he said.

Airola said rent control will make Sacramento less attractive to investors, thus impacting the introduction of more affordable housing.

Dozens at the meeting wanted to put more stringent rent control on the ballot again with a rent board and just cause protections for renters. In 2018 Californians rejected a similar ballot initiative.

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