10: Bringing Back Rent Control
What it would do:
Allow cities to introduce new restrictions on market rents or expand existing rent control policies.
What it would cost the government:
It depends. If cities across the state enact new rent control laws or expand old ones, that could result in less construction and reduce rental property values, resulting in lower tax revenue. But it could also allow existing tenants who save on lower rent to spend more on consumer goods, resulting in higher sales tax proceeds. And then again, it’s possible that very few cities will respond with new laws at all, in which case the effect will be negligible.
Why it is on the ballot:
In 1995 the California Legislature placed a statewide moratorium on rent control laws. It also banned cities from applying existing rent regulation ordinances to new units. Now that the state is facing an affordable housing crisis, some housing advocates want to give cities a tool to put a legal lid on rents.
Arguments in Favor:
The rent is too damn high! California renters are being priced out of the state’s big cities, driving them out into the suburbs, out of state, or onto the street. This is a crisis that needs an immediate solution, even as lawmakers work on a longer term fix.
If rents are kept artificially low, it becomes less profitable to build new units or maintain and improve old ones. That’s counterproductive: a shortage of housing is how we got into this mess to begin with.
California Democratic Party
California Teachers Association
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
California Nurses Association
California State Sen. Kevin De Léon
Sacramento Bee editorial board
California Republican Party
California Apartment Association
California Chamber of Commerce
State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom