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Bloom's Rent Control Bill Likely Delayed Until Next Year

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

April 25, 2019 -- A bill sponsored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom to expand rent control to buildings that are more than 10 years old will have to wait until next year.

Blooom announced Wednesday night that he had pulled AB 36, which would have made "modest reforms" to a statewide law that allows owners of most vacant rent controlled units to raise the rent to market rates.

Bloom's one-sentence announcement came the day before the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee was scheduled to take up the bill sponsored by the former Santa Monica Mayor.

"I am asking that AB 36 be moved to Rules so we can continue to work towards reasonable reforms to Costa-Hawkins to deliver meaningful protections to the millions of California renters who are struggling to remain housed," Bloom wrote on Twitter.

The bill, which will likely not be taken up this year, makes changes to the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act pending the approval of voters in rent control jurisdictions, such as Santa Monica.

Under the bill, Santa Monica units that are at least ten years old would be subject to vacancy decontrol ("Slew of State Housing Bills Will Make Little Dent in Santa Monica," March 15, 2019).

Currently, all voluntarily vacated units built after 1979, when Rent Control went into effect, can fetch market rates.

AB 36 was introduced in March, 14 months after Bloom's bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins failed to pass out of the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee ("Santa Monica Lawmaker's Rental Bill Fails to Pass Committee," January 12, 2018).

The committee expressed doubts the bill, which had failed to get a hearing the previous year, would alleviate a statewide housing crisis.

Proposition 10, a subsequent ballot measure to repeal Costa-Hawkins, was soundly defeated by statewide voters last November ("Statewide Measure to Repeal Vacancy Decontrol and Expand Rent Control Makes Ballot," June 15, 2018).

Santa Monica voters, however, backed the measure, which was opposed by the real estate industry and major landlords ("Santa Monica Voters Backed Statewide Housing Measure, Opposed Water Bond," December 3, 2018).

Wednesday's announcement marks the second legislative setback for Bloom this week.

On Monday, Bloom's office announced his bill to tax sugary drinks to fight obesity would remain in the Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee for the rest of the legislative year ("Santa Monica Lawmaker's Sugary Drinks Tax Delayed Until Next Year," April 22, 2019).

The bill, which would be the first such state tax approved in the country, will move forward through the legislative process next year, Bloom said.

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