New Tenant’s Caucus Formed in State Legislature

Natalie Donlin-Zappella, Principal

While renters make up 44% of the State’s population, 117 of the Legislature’s 120 members own their own home (or 97.5%) and more than 25% of the members also own rental property. Seeking to ensure that the perspective of renters is considered when laws are being adopted, the three members of the Legislature that are renters—Assemblymembers Matt Haney (San Francisco), Alex Lee (San Jose), and Isaac Bryan (Los Angeles)—have formed a renters’ caucus. The members highlighted issues of importance to renters, including tenant protections and rental assistance, which were brought to the forefront during the pandemic.

Renters face unique pressures, with many who have significant housing precarity. According to the California Budget & Policy Center, more than one-half of all renter households pay more than 30% of their income towards rent, with 25% considered severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income in rent. Check out the California Budget & Policy Center report here.

First on the list of actions for the caucus is the repeal of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits how jurisdictions can control rent increases, and reform of the Ellis Act, which governs how rental property owners can evict their tenants when they make the decision to get out of the landlord business. For more information, check out this article from Capital & Main that covers the formation of the new caucus.