Orange County commissioners approve rent increase cap question for November ballot

By a 4-3 vote, the Orange County Commission has passed a measure that will allow voters to determine if there should be a limit to rent increases. Orange County voters will decide on the rent cap question on the November ballot.

Commissioners have had several meetings already trying to decide where to cap rent prices, and it has resulted in a sharply divided panel.

The rent stabilization ordinance as it stands now would not allow landlords to increase monthly rent by a higher percentage than the annual consumer price index. The index measures the changes in prices that consumers paid for goods in the last year. The U.S. Labor of Statistics estimates the increase to be about 9%.

There are also exceptions on exactly who qualifies for the rent cap, and it will only be in effect for one year. While that is higher than the 5% initially proposed by Commissioner Emily Bonilla, it is less than the price hikes renters are seeing now. 

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Rent in Orange County is up almost 30% compared to last year.  While landlords have said high demand and higher property taxes are forcing them to raise the rent, some people said they can no longer afford to live in their homes.

"My rent got up $300, and I can't afford it, and I have co-workers living in the street. It's not two, three, or five. There are hundreds of them!"