An initiative to expand rent control in California has qualified for the November ballot.
If the proposal sounds familiar, that’s because a similar measure was roundly defeated in 2018. That initiative would have allowed local governments to impose rent control on houses and apartments built after 1995.
The measure on this year’s November ballot would allow local governments to establish rent control on buildings over 15 years old, but it would exclude single-family homes. Landlords could raise rents on affected properties by no more than 15 percent every three years.
Housing Is A Human Right, the housing advocacy division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, authored both measures. The group says the softened language in the measure — the previous measure proposed allowing rent control on all housing types regardless of age — along with California’s mounting homelessness crisis, will encourage more voters to support rent control this time around.
Housing affordability and homelessness are “the most pressing social justice and public health emergencies in our time, especially in California,” said foundation president Michael Weinstein in a statement.
But the measure faces stiff opposition.
“It would be a disaster for California,” said Russell Lowery, executive director of the California Rental Housing Association. “It would unnecessarily reduce property values; it would increase the difficulty of finding affordable rental housing around the state.”
Lowery says the best way to address California’s housing crisis is to focus on increased housing production.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law that caps rent increases to 5 percent, plus inflation. It also included added tenant protections that prohibit landlords from evicting people without cause.
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