The California Apartment Association is opposing efforts to introduce rent control measures in four Bay Area cities and one Central Valley city.

Tenant activists began campaigns in December to place proposals on the November 2024 ballot in Redwood City, Larkspur, Pittsburg, San Pablo, and Delano. These filings mark the beginning of signature-gathering campaigns, with organizers required to collect enough signatures to qualify these measures for the ballot.

In Redwood City, the proposed rent control program, if qualified for the ballot and approved by the voters, would limit annual rent increases for eligible properties to 60% of the consumer price index (CPI). Landlords would be mandated to pay the city a fee for each unit they operate to fund the city’s implementation and enforcement of the rent control bureaucracy. In other Northern California cities, this fee ranges as high as $200 per unit per year. 

CAA argues that additional regulations beyond the state’s 2019 rent control law will deter housing creation, force units off the market, and impose further bureaucracy on cities. The proposed ballot measure in Redwood City is designed to create one of the most expansive rent control policies in San Mateo County.

In Delano, a city in Kern County, the proposed rent control measure resurfaced about eight months after the Delano City Council shelved a similar proposal to assess its impact on municipal finances. The current proposal, if passed, would set a precedent in Kern County by capping rent increases to 60% of the annual change in the federal CPI, with a maximum annual increase limit of 3%. The proposed measure in Delano also seeks new restrictions on evictions processes and other unnecessary measures on housing providers. 

In addition to rent control, these proposed initiatives aim to implement rent control and seek to ban Ratio Utility Billing Systems in new leases, introduce eviction restrictions exceeding current state laws, and establish “anti-harassment” provisions, potentially leading to increased litigation against housing providers and additional costs to the cities.

Rhovy Lyn Antonio, senior vice president of local public affairs at CAA, criticized these proposed measures.

“Voters should not be fooled into signing these petitions. These measures are more of the same failed policies from overzealous actors seeking to undermine our state’s housing laws, especially the landmark California Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which already protects nearly all renters from excessive rent increases and evictions without just cause,” Antonio told the San Mateo Daily Journal. She warned that if passed, these measures would worsen the housing crisis by prompting housing providers to withdraw units from the market and burden cities with the cost of administering new bureaucracies.

CAA is gearing up to counter these proposed rent control measures with the same determination shown in opposing rent control initiatives in cities like Alameda, Richmond, Mountain View, Pacifica, Pasadena, National City, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa. The association is committed to educating voters about the detrimental effects of rent control on the housing market and local economies in each targeted city.

Currently, approximately 26 cities in California have implemented rent control ordinances.