Once again, the California Apartment Association has helped keep extreme forms of rent control out of the state.
Thanks largely to a campaign led by CAA, voters in Tuesday’s election rejected Proposition 21, the statewide ballot measure that would have invited back the radical rent control policies that proliferated in the 1970s and ’80s.
As of Wednesday morning, with 99% of precincts partially reporting, 59.8% of voters had rejected Prop 21, while 40.2% voted to approve the measure.
“It’s heartening that voters across the state recognized that Prop 21 would have worsened California’s ongoing housing shortage and homelessness crisis,” said Tom Bannon, chief executive officer of CAA. “Now, it’s time to get busy and come up with real solutions for increasing the number of housing units for California’s working families.”
Proposition 21 would have done the opposite. The measure would have repealed key provisions of 1995’s Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, authorizing local governments to bring back vacancy controls, capping rents between tenancies. Moreover, it would have allowed cities and counties to apply local rent control ordinances to newer apartments — as soon as they turn 15 years old — and to a greater number of condos and single-family homes.
These policies would have prompted many existing landlords to take their homes and buildings off the rental market, converting them to other uses and many developers to take their housing project proposals across state lines.
Proposition 21 was modeled after 2018’s Proposition 10, another radical rent control measure that targeted Costa-Hawkins and that failed at the polls by a wide margin. Both propositions were bankrolled by Michael Weinstein and his nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
As in 2018, CAA’s campaign committee, Californians for Responsible Housing, led an extensive campaign to educate the electorate on the pitfalls of Proposition 21.
These efforts helped build a broad and diverse coalition of opponents to the measure, ranging from veterans to affordable housing groups to seniors. Nearly all of California’s major newspapers also editorialized against Prop 21.
With both of Weinstein’s extreme rent control measures thwarted, it’s time for California to focus its energies on building enough homes to meet demand and keep California economically viable, Bannon said.
Added the CEO, “The association is ready and willing to work with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels to find policies that will actually enhance the creation of housing for working families.”