California is on the verge of passing rent control, underlining a growing movement across the U.S. to provide more protection to tenants amid rising housing costs. 

California is on the verge of passing statewide rent control, underlining a growing movement across the U.S. to provide more protection to tenants amid rising housing costs.

The State Senate voted to advance a bill that would prevent landlords from increasing rents on many rental units in California by more than 5 percent a year plus cost of living. It also would require landlords to cite “just cause” when evicting tenants.

Although it helped get the bill out of Assembly, the bill is now opposed by the California Association of Realtors (CAR), The New York Times reported.

The bill could reportedly receive final approval as early as Wednesday, if it passes California’s State Assembly, the lower house of the Legislature.

“It discourages new rental housing, which is why the California Association of Realtors, representing more than 200,000 real estate agents and brokers across California, strongly opposes it,” the president of CAR, Jared Martin, wrote in a recent op-ed for Cal Matters.

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), an advocacy organization that has led the push for rent control, takes a different view.

“With homelessness increasing across the state, this is a huge step toward slowing the tide of displacement and keeping families in their homes!” the group said about the bill in an email to supporters.

The bill would extend rent control to roughly 8 million tenants, expanding price protection far beyond the swath of units covered in a handful of Californian cities at the moment, according to The Times.

The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R) has recently taken up the fight against the bill, according to The Times.

The landlord lobby, meanwhile, has reportedly adopted a neutral stance, as it girds to deal with tenant-protection measures that could be coming down the pike.

The bill marks a strategic response by progressive forces to the failure of a 2018 rent-control ballot measure. The initiative, which was rejected by voters, would have repealed a state law that restricts the ability of local governments to control rents.

But the bill that is on the verge of passing applies rent regulations across all of California, rather than seeking to empower municipalities to pass their own.

The legislation is emblematic of a nationwide rent control movement that has gathered steam amid rising housing costs and homelessness. Both New York State and Oregon have recently strengthened rent regulations. Rent-control legislation is also on the table in states including Washington, Colorado, Illinois and Florida, The Times reported.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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