Last month, Santa Ana began looking at whether to become the first city in Orange County to implement rent control on apartments and houses. The city council had its first discussion in early February that included presentations from experts on the issue. There is currently no city in Orange County that has rent control for apartments and houses. In fact, the only city with rent control in the county is San Juan Capistrano, which limits rent hikes on mobile homes. Hairo Cortes, executive director of the Latino advocacy group Chispa, stated,
Santa Ana is experiencing gentrification right now. So these landlords are seeing an opportunity to push out community members and residents who have been living here for decades because they’re going to be able to find someone who they can charge more for that apartment.
Community groups have been pushing the city to help control rising rents that they believe are making Santa Ana unaffordable for many of the long-term residents, but landlords say the real issue is the housing shortage. According to Judson Brown, the city’s housing division manager, the city and census data show a 10 percent increase in median rent from 2010 to 2016. Unfortunately, the median household income fell by 1.5 percent during that same time period. According to a report from the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, apartments in the Anaheim-Orange-Santa Ana market area had the lowest vacancy rates in the county last year. We will have to wait and see if the Santa Ana city council decides to implement rent control in the city.