The Santa Ana City Council voted 4-3 at 2 a.m. on Sep. 22 to approve a series of rent control and eviction protection ordinances and measures that will, once fully approved:
- Cap rents at 3 % annually or 80 % of inflation, whichever is less, for buildings built in 1995 or earlier and for mobile home parks established in 1990 or earlier;
- Limit when landlords can force tenants out by enacting “just cause evictions,” covering tenants who have lived in the home for at least 30 days. The law will have the landlord provide the eviction notice in the language the owner and tenant used to negotiate the lease;
- Set aside $300,000 from pandemic relief money to create an “eviction defense fund” and hire a consultant who will act as a bridge until the city creates a new rent control board and a rent registry for apartments;
- Direct city staff to further study how these protections will be carried out.
The City Council Members also made last-minute modifications to the proposed policies, which included adding the legal definition of rent to the ordinance and a citation-first warning system to educate landlords who violate the new policies before being taken to court.
Mayor Vince Sarmiento, and City Council Members Thai Viet Phan, Jessie Lopez and Johnathan Hernandez voted in favor of the ordinances and measures while City Council Members Phil Bacerra, David Penaloza and Nelida Mendoza were opposed.
There will be a second reading at the City Council meeting on Oct. 5 and then these ordinances and measures will take effect.
The downsides of rent control include:
- Rent Control Puts a Ceiling on Profitability
- Bad Tenants Stay Put
- Rent Control Policies Sometimes Forget the Impact of Property Taxes
The positives of rent control include:
- Lower Tenant Turnover
- Lowered Financial Burdens Help Tenants Meet Household Obligations
- Less Development Means Less Competition