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Yet another new proposal concerning affordable housing in the Bay Area is fighting to secure a spot on the November 2018 ballot. Known as the Affordable Housing Act, it would expand rent control to all rental units in California by revoking the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act enacted in 1995.

One of the more divisive aspects of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act is the restriction on rent control for units constructed after 1995. The Affordable Housing Act points out that between the Bay Area’s skyrocketing rental costs and the overwhelming statistic that half of residents are rent burdened, the need for this type of ballot measure is more pertinent than ever.

Opponents of the proposal include the California Apartment Association, the self-proclaimed largest statewide organization representing the rental housing industry. They argue that developers will be less likely to build new purpose-built rental buildings, landlords will feel less inclined to maintain their properties, and current tenants will hold onto their units longer, making it harder for would-be renters to find accommodation. Due to the influx of wealthy residents, Bay Area developers are typically interested in building luxury condominiums, further exacerbating the rental housing supply problem for the disappearing middle class.

For many long-time residents, rent control is the only thing that has allowed them to remain in the Bay Area at all. According to Zumper’s latest report, the median average for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco currently sits at $3,480 a month. The next step will be gathering enough valid voter signatures (365,880 to be exact) to ensure the Affordable Housing Act makes its way onto the ballot in November 2018.

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