Solving Georgia's housing crisis: State senator pushes lifting ban on rent control

A state senator in Georgia believes she has the solution to the current housing crisis.

Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta, has finally gotten her bill out of committee. SB 125 that will allow local cities and counties to set their own rent control.

Renter shares her housing crisis nightmare

" I am actually facing homelessness. I am scared to death. I cannot sleep. This is so wrong," renter Wanda Cooper complained.

Ms. Cooper showed FOX 5 the Carroll County home she has rented since 2022.

The 56-year-old grandmother currently faces eviction by a corporate landlord over what she says are utilities that are in arrears.

"I'd never been late, period. I was always on time," Ms. Cooper said.

Cooper says when she went to court to answer the dispossessory action, she was surprised to learn what it was for.

"This dispossessory says she owes nothing. She doesn't owe any rent, so why is she here? That's when we noticed it was for utility bills," she said. 

Cooper said the utility bill had never been paid since she moved in.

"They wanted $4,000 in two weeks. I was so upset. What can I do? There's no place to go. Rent is too high. It's hard to find a place," Ms. Cooper replied.

Opposition to SB 125

Sen. James hopes her bill to lift Georgia's ban on rent control will help people like Wanda.

However, there is opposition.

"We generally do not believe that rent control is the answer to address the housing crisis. We support building smaller lots, " Betsy Bradfield, of Georgia Realtors, said.

"I am caught between a rock and a hard place. Now, I am 56 years old with a dispossessory. How do I look asking for a cosigner in an apartment?" the renter said. 

Sen. James says SB 125 passed out of the Urban Affairs Committee on Thursday. The next big hurdle is to get the legislation on the Rules Committee agenda.