Orange County exploring rent control options as prices soar

Orange County commissioners met in a special session on Thursday to discuss relief strategies, including rent control, as rent prices soar.

A board majority supports a proposed ballot measure that could temporarily cap rent increases at 5% over a one-year period. 

Also, on the agenda: 

  • Rent stabilization to slow down the spike
  • Rule for more notice to tenants for rent increases so they have more time to plan ahead
  • Emergency rental assistance program

In 2020, the average rent price in the county was about $1,400. That spiked to nearly $1,700 in 2021 – which is a 25-percent increase. 

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In the last meeting, renters said they were being forced out of their homes, while landlords said demand was overwhelming.

"This may be the last year that I live in Orange County, a place where we have created so many memories because we can no longer afford to live here," said one renter during the meeting.

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A landlord who spoke at the meeting said, "I, like my colleagues here today, are alarmed that rent control measures are even on the table… while well-intentioned, will ultimately do considerably do more harm than good."

The special session was called in hopes that if a plan moves forward in time, it would go on the November ballot for Orange County voters to approve.