Expanding Rent Control Across California Could Be Headed For A Vote

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Expanding Rent Control Across California Could Be Headed For A Vote

Rent control advocates say they now have enough signatures to place on the November ballot an initiative that would allow cities across California to put in place rent control if they choose, according to a release.

“At a series of rallies held throughout California, a coalition of renters, small landlords, labor allies, faith-based organizations, and civil rights leaders came together to place the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act on the November 2018 ballot,” according to the release.

“Repealing the act could allow rent control to be extended locally throughout the state. The coalition announced that more than 588,542 signatures were collected to place the Affordable Housing Act on the statewide, November ballot.”

The ballot initiative follows an attempt earlier this year to repeal Costa Hawkins in the state legislature which failed to advance past a committee vote.

The law, known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, allows landlords in cities with rent control — including San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and several others in the Bay Area — to raise the price of a unit to market rate whenever a tenant moves out. It also bans cities from imposing any rent caps on units built after February 1995.

More rent control does not solve housing crisis

Opponents led by the California Apartment Association, which represents landlords and developers, counter that stricter rent control rules will only make the problem worse by discouraging development and squeezing the already short supply of rental units.

“It will ultimately harm the very people it is trying to help,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Southern California Valley Industry and Commerce Association, said in a statement Monday. “The only way to solve the housing crisis is to build more.

“We need to find ways to make housing more affordable. Tenants in rent control apartments know that if they leave, the chances of them finding another reasonably priced apartment is close to none. This is why we are seeing such a low vacancy rate throughout Los Angeles, especially in the San Fernando Valley,” Waldman said in the statement.  “Expanding rent control will have the opposite effect that proponents of this measure are promising. Instead, this measure will make housing construction more difficult and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year.  
 
“Studies and academic reports reveal that the only way to drive down rent is to build more. This is something this measure will not do,” Waldman said in the statement.

“Our job will be to educate voters that this will pour gasoline on the housing crisis by freezing construction of new housing,” Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Californians for Responsible Housing, the opposition campaign, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Local government should have control over its streets and Sacramento took that power from us. It is time for us to take it back. You have my full support, let’s pass this and give the power back to the people,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the Los Angeles rally, said in the release.

“Everyone in California knows, the rent is too damn high,” Melvin Willis, Richmond City Vice-Mayor and organizer with ACCE Action, said in the release. “We only needed about 402,000 signatures to qualify the initiative. We easily surpassed that by collecting more than 588,542. These are voters who are standing up for fairness in the rental market, and standing against rent gouging. Repealing the Costa-Hawkins Act will give cities a critical tool to tackle the state’s housing affordability crisis.”

Resources:

Bid to repeal rent-control limits in California could be headed to ballot

More Rent Control is Another Way to NOT Solve the Housing Crisis

Coalition for Affordable Housing

Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

Renters rally to repeal California’s rent-control restrictions

 

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