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Rent Control Comes To S.F. Suburbs

San Francisco painted ladies skyline
credit: Samuel Wantman

Once known as a symptom of out-of-control housing problems in cities, rent controls are being debated in suburbs. Alameda and other Bay Area cities are facing citizen-led ballot initiatives to cap rent increases.

The housing crisis has been made acute by a tech boom that generated 440,000 jobs in the Bay Area, according to a report by ABC News. Only 50,000 new units have been added to keep up with demand, however. The imbalance between supply and demand has caused a substantial spike in rents. A renter would have to make $67/hour to afford rent in the Bay Area, according to a Zillow study.

Ballot proposals in three Bay Area cities are trying to address the crisis by limiting increases to keep them in line with general consumer inflation. Tenants would be protected from eviction.

Last August, Richmond approved such a proposal, but a move by the landlord’s association to place the matter for vote led to the council repealing the ordinance.

Economists and developers have traditionally been against rent control, arguing that it limits supply, thereby exacerbating a problem the program was designed to fix. [ABC]

Related Topics: Affordable Housing Crisis