Economy

California Democrats Using COVID-19 Crisis to Push for Permanent Rent Control

Written by Michael Palomba

Senator Pat Bates recently issued an announcement regarding a rent-reduction bill, AB 828, that has made its way to the State Senate. She calls it “a vast abuse of power.”

We’ve seen several far-left legislators across the nation calling for rent control. Generally, not too many people take the idea seriously, so it looks like those who want to implement it will do so by any means.

“AB 828’s author first introduced the bill in February 2019 to address human trafficking. The State Assembly unanimously approved it in April 2019, where the bill then sat dormant in the State Senate until this month, when the author gutted and amended it to unconstitutionally force a 25 percent reduction in rents and make it even more difficult for property owners to manage their properties,” said Bates.

How a bill focused on human trafficking managed to become one about statewide rent control is… interesting. Nonetheless, this bill, if passed, would be a blatant overstep by the government and would inevitably have unintended consequences. 

Senator Patricia Bates opposes AB 828 because of the negative consequences it would create in the housing market. “I share the author’s desire to help renters genuinely affected by COVID-19, but AB 828 is not the answer,” she explained. “The bill would sanction a de facto government taking of private property which would ultimately reduce the amount of housing available in California in the long run.”

Additionally, California already has a plethora of tenant protection programs in place as a result of COVID-19, including:

  • A statewide halt on evictions of all types
  • A state of emergency that caps rents
  • Local measures that freeze rents and provide extended deferrals of unpaid rent
  • State and local rent control laws that, in some cases for years, have limited rent increases to less than inflation

As is typical of Democratic leadership, the “never let a crisis go to waste” mindset is in full force here. Rent control has been on the Democratic wish list for awhile now, and they are attempting to use a crisis to finally get it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who should be setting a good example of her caucus, has fully embraced the attitude of taking advantage of a crisis. From the beginning, she has been trying to get unrelated Democrat policy items passed in coronavirus relief legislation. This includes a carbon tax for airlines, funding for sanctuary cities, diversity measures, raising the minimum wage, and much more. She’s also working ferociously on getting national mail-in voting approved for the 2020 election. 

Pelosi and the Democratic Party holding the American people hostage to pursue an agenda is unacceptable. They delayed the first coronavirus stimulus bill, they delayed replenishing the small business relief program, and they are likely to try it again with future upcoming stimulus legislation.

Photo via Flickr