Tenant activists in the city of Santa Rosa have filed signatures in hopes of qualifying what would become the city’s second rent control measure in less than two years.

Last week, the North Bay Organizing Project submitted  11,565 signatures on their petition to qualify a rent control and “just cause” eviction measure for the city’s Nov. 6 ballot.

That submission kicked off a 30-day review period for the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters to verify at least 8,985 of the signatures are valid to qualify the initiative.

The California Apartment Association and North Bay Association of Realtors are committed to defeating the measure and are building a coalition of homeowners, housing providers, local residents, and community leaders to educate Santa Rosa voters why they need to vote no.

The new initiative is more onerous than Measure C, which CAA and the Realtors defeated in the June 2017 election. For one thing, the new initiative is written with the potential repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act in mind.

“This new proposal would allow the city to potentially include single family homes in any regulations they might impose,” said Joshua Howard, senior vice president of CAA in Northern California.

If the North Bay Organizing Project’s measure makes the ballot and ultimately passes, it would also:

  • Limit rent increases to the annual inflation rate.
  • Impose strict eviction-for-cause rules for most rental units.
  • Require written warnings be served before initiating eviction, even after criminal activity.
  • Subject renters to potentially testifying against neighbors accused of criminal activity as part of eviction proceedings.
  • Force payment of six months’ or more of comparable market rate rent to terminate a tenancy.
  • Create a permanent government bureaucracy with the power to set rents, levy fees, and pay itself a salary.
  • Cost Santa Rosa millions annually to implement and enforce.

Howard said it is important for voters to understand that the current rent control measure does nothing to provide housing, reduce homelessness or provide relief to low-income renters.

“It will cost renters, homeowners, and taxpayers millions of dollars annually to hire city staff to enforce the measure,” he said.  “The initiative will make it harder to evict problem tenants and creates a new city commission to regulate the housing industry.”

Over the past few years, CAA has successfully fought rent control ballot measures in five Northern California cities. In addition to defeating Santa Rosa’s Measure C last year, CAA stopped rent control measures in Pacifica, Burlingame, Alameda and San Mateo. Voters, however, approved rent control in Richmond and Mountain View.

To succeed in Santa Rosa again this November, CAA and its allies need the help of the rental housing industry. Consider donating today to “Santa Rosans for Real Housing Solutions.” For a contribution form, click here or the image below. For more information, contact Joshua Howard at jhoward@caanet.org.