Sacramento voters will decide in November on whether the city should further limit rent increases and extend tenant protections beyond what city leaders implemented earlier this year.
Measure C would cap rent increases at 5% annually and extend eviction protections for renters as soon as they sign a lease. It would also create an elected rental housing board to enforce provisions of Measure C.
The city passed an ordinance earlier this year that caps annual rent increases at 5% plus the percentage change in the annual consumer price index.
The primary backers of Measure C include SEIU International 1021 — which has spent $160,000 in support — as well as tenant advocacy groups. They argue the city’s existing tenant protections don’t go far enough. (The official argument in support of Measure C can be found here.)
Opponents of the measure include the California Apartment Association, National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors. The latter two have contributed more than $400,000 combined to the “no” campaign. Some city leaders also oppose Measure C, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
Opponents say the measure would strain landlords, discourage housing production and create unnecessary bureaucracy. (The official opposition argument can be found here.)
Here’s a straightforward breakdown of Measure C and the city’s existing rent cap ordinance.
Essentials On Measure C
If Measure C passes, it would:
Implement “just cause” protections for tenants once they sign a lease. That limits when a landlord can evict a tenant — in this case, without having to help pay for moving costs. For example, if a renter caused a nuisance in violation of the lease, the landlord could remove the tenant.
Require financial relocation assistance for renters evicted without just cause. For example, if a landlord terminates a lease with a tenant so that they can make improvements to a rental unit, the owner would have to pay the renter at least $5,500 to help cover moving costs.
Annual rent hikes would be tied to the consumer price index. Increases would be capped at 5% per year, and the minimum allowable increase would be 2%.
Establish a nine-member Rental Housing Board that would set rental rates, enforce the measure, and adjudicate tenant-landlord disputes. Residents would elect eight of the members; the mayor would appoint the ninth, which would require approval from the rest of the board.
Rent control provisions of Measure C would not apply to single-family homes, condos or and newer apartments constructed in the last couple decades, because of the state’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which was passed in 1995.
Proposition 21, a statewide ballot measure currently in front of voters, would roll back the Costa-Hawkins law. A similar proposal failed in 2018.
The effort to pass Measure C began more than two years ago, in February 2018, when supporters started circulating a petition for signatures. It qualified for the ballot that summer.
At that time, Mayor Steinberg told CapRadio the initiative was “a threat.” The mayor eventually negotiated a compromise with some of its proponents: The city approved a new ordinance, and some organizers agreed to drop the measure from the ballot.
But not all of them: Some continued to push for the measure to go on this fall’s ballot, and after a long legal battle a judge deemed that the city must put it in front of voters.
Essentials On Sacramento’s Existing Tenant Protection Ordinance
The City of Sacramento passed an ordinance earlier this year that:
- Caps annual rent increases at 5% plus the annual percentage increase in the California Consumer Price Index, but cannot exceed 10%. This year, rents can increase 6%.
- Limits rent increases to once in a 12 month period.
- Requires just cause to evict tenants who have rented a unit for at least 1 year.
- Requires 120-day notice in instances when a property owner or manager evicts a tenant without just cause.
- Establishes a process for landlords and tenants to settle disputes over rent increases and evictions.
- Expires in September 2024
The city’s ordinance closely aligns with the state’s tenant protection law that went into effect at the start of this year. The law caps rent increases at 5% plus the percentage change in the regional consumer price index, or 10% of the monthly rent — whichever is lower. Rent can only be raised once in a 12 month period. The law expires in 2030.
Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed into law protections for renters impacted by the pandemic. The law protects tenants from evictions for unpaid rent through early 2021.However, it does not forgive unpaid rent and allows landlords to file legal claims against tenants starting in March of next year.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.