This year, California voters may get to decide whether cities should be able to enforce stronger rent control. Stronger rent control would increase affordability for tenants, but may decrease profitability for landlords. Proponents claim to have enough signatures to see the measure reach the ballot come June.
The measure is largely funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “Housing is a Human Right” and tenants’ rights groups throughout the state. The measure seeks to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which curtailed the types of housing covered and prevented cities from strengthening rent protection. Current rent control laws are prevented from including single-family residences, townhouses, condos, and duplexes. All units built after 1995 are also exempt.
Proponents say they have more than 588,000 signatures – more than 220,000 over the 365,880 needed. Opponents, however, claim this measure, if passed, will do just the opposite of what it seeks to accomplish. They fear it will result in an “affordable housing freeze,” stymieing new construction across the state, thus, further contributing to the current housing crisis. The reason for this opposition? Less investors will put their money into apartment homes if profitability goes down hurting a housing market that’s already troubled with low inventory.