Skyrocketing Bay Area rents increase calls for rent control

In yet another sign of the growing conflict between haves and have-nots in the San Francisco Bay Area, the region is now wrestling with rent control fever.

Faced with increasing rents amid a booming economy, housing advocates in many Bay Area cities are calling for a number of new local rent control measures.

Four decades ago the rent control movement took hold in San Francisco and other liberal enclaves. Now, it’s suburb dwellers calling for the rent limits.

The Oakland Tribune reports, “Rent control advocates have made their case in council chambers across the Peninsula as well as in Alameda, Richmond and Fremont, where officials are unaccustomed to rental housing politics.

“Although state law limits rent control to older, multiunit apartment buildings, supporters say that paired with eviction protections, rent control could still safeguard tens of thousands of low-income tenants at risk of displacement, as such laws already do in three of the Bay Area's most progressive cities -- San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley.”

“Tenant advocates have found a receptive audience in Richmond, but they have had to temper their demands in wealthier cities -- where political leaders say that regulating the rental market is an expensive proposition that will depress property values and lower the quality of rental housing stock without benefiting all tenants.

“Even Mountain View Councilman Lenny Siegel, who led that city's failed rent control ballot initiative 34 years ago, is refusing to back rent control advocates this time around for fear of dividing an emerging coalition in favor of more housing construction.”