SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Rent control advocates descended on Sacramento on Thursday to push for the repeal of Costa-Hawkins, the law that puts restrictions on cities to impose rent control.

Protesters and rent control activists banged on doors and chanted outside the offices of Invitation Homes. The company owns the most single-family rentals in Sacramento County.

“What do we want?” shouted a protester. “Rent control,” the crowd replied.

“I’m spending 50 percent or more of my income on rent,” said Vanessa Bulnes of Oakland, “I wish I could just pack up my things and move, but I can’t afford it.”

Bulnes and dozens of others from across the state say a repeal of Costa-Hawkins and rent control are the only ways to stabilize rent and make life affordable for millions of people.

“I’ve already cut back,” said Bulnes, “I’m going to a food bank to get my food after I pay rent.”

In Sacramento County, rental prices have increased 10 percent in the last year.

Rent control supporters say minority neighborhoods have been broken apart by sky-high rent. They say repealing Costa-Hawkins would loosen the restrictions on cities to impose rent control.

“The rent control needs to be fair for both tenants and owners,” said Sherman King, a bay area landlord.

Many landlords oppose the repeal.

“Eventually you have to get back to market rate,” said Peter Reitz, a San Francisco landlord.

Opponents say rent control stifles the housing market and hurts mom and pop landlords who are trying to keep pace with multi-billion dollar investment companies.

“You’re putting us in a position to be housing subsidizer our entire lives,” said Reitz.

All sides agree that part of the solution comes down to supply and demand.

“You have to build more housing at all levels,” said Reitz.

Voters will have the last say on whether to repeal Costa Hawkins. The initiative will be on the November ballot. Today’s hearing was a last effort for lawmakers to take matters in their own hands.

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