California lawmakers approve bill to cap rent increases

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SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom legislation Wednesday capping rent increases as the nation's most populous state struggles with an affordable housing and a homelessness crisis.

Assembly members voted 46-22 to limit annual rent increases at 5% plus inflation. The cap expires in 2030 and would not apply to housing built within the last 15 years and single-family homes not owned by corporations or trusts. Also exempt are duplexes where the owner lives in one unit.

"They sent me the strongest package in America. These anti-gouging and eviction protections will help families afford to keep a roof over their heads, and they will provide California with important new tools to combat our state's broader housing and affordability crisis," the Democratic governor said in a statement.

Democrats posed the vote as a moral imperative to counter rent gouging and keep the poor and elderly in their homes.

Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica noted that lawmakers are separately considering legislation making it easier for people to live in their cars: "If that doesn't underscore where we are with this housing crisis and the need to protect tenants and build more housing ... then I don't know what does," he said.

Republicans countered that Democrats who control California's government created the problem by passing restrictive development and environmental laws. The debate came days after Trump administration officials visited sprawling homeless encampments in Los Angeles.

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