Santa Ana one step closer to eviction protections, rent control

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Santa Ana is one step closer to placing a cap on rent and protecting tenants from unjust evictions after the city council's vote.

On Tuesday night, the hours-long public comments poured into the early hours Wednesday.

Dozens of landlords and organizations representing them spoke out against the ordinances, but most there and on Zoom were in favor of the rent stabilization and just-cause eviction ordinances.

Many supporters lived and grew up in Santa Ana and were there looking out for their families and the next generation.

The ordinances cap annual rent increases at 3%, or 80% of inflation, whichever is lowest, for multi-family developments built in 1995 or earlier and mobile home parks established in 1990 or before.

The just-cause eviction protections limit when landlords can evict tenants.

The ordinances also establish an agency or board for implementation and oversight of these ordinances.

Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said Friday with more than half of Santa Ana's residents renting, something needs to be done to protect its most vulnerable, low income, mixed-status households.

"Some of our residents are paying up to an excess of 50% of their salaries on rent and so that is a very, very difficult and precarious way for people to live," Sarmiento said.

Tenants United Santa Ana volunteer Nathaniel Greensides said Friday that TUSA has worked toward the passage of policies like these since 2018.

"It's not a new problem here in Santa Ana that landlords have been abusing their powers and harassing and bullying tenants as well as increasing rent without any sort of increase in quality or safety or maintenance," Greensides said.

Greensides said councilmembers who ran on the rent-control issues kept their promise and the 4-3 vote was a sign city leaders were finally listening to their community.

"The residents were able to get up there, share their stories, share their struggles with their locally elected officials and those locally elected officials finally listened to them" Greensides said.

The second reading of these ordinances is scheduled for Oct. 5. If they pass they go into effect within 30 days.

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