Rent Control Is Back on the Ballot in 2020

Posted by Livable Content Team on Oct 1, 2020 3:00:00 AM

Here We Go Again

It may be 2020 but it’s starting to feel like 2018 all over again. A big election is looming and tenant advocates are once again bringing a rent control measure to the California ballot. 

It’s beginning to seem like a game of Whack-a-Mole: just when we think we’ve fought off an attack on property rights, another one springs up. Just as in 2018, we can expect the rental housing industry to mount a strong rebuttal campaign. Talk to your local apartment association about what they are doing to fight this threat in the year ahead and, whenever possible, be ready to lend a hand. Once again, we will need the industry to come together to stand up for California’s housing providers.

Rent Control Back on the Ballot 

The same group that pushed a failed rent control initiative in 2018 has garnered enough signatures to bring the issue back to voters in 2020—but with a few key differences. Single-family homes are now exempt (as long as owners do not have more than two such properties), as are multifamily properties built within the last 15 years. 

Tenant advocates are counting on this exemption to bring single-family owners over to their side. “Now it’s very clear in the language, single-family homes are not affected by this legislation,” Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz told the Santa Monica Daily Press. “Without that scare tactic, this proposition is going to pass.”

Otherwise the initiative is very similar to a measure roundly rejected by voters in 2018. It would amend the 1995 Costa-Hawkins law, which currently bans any rent control on properties built after that year. Should the measure pass, cities and counties would be able to either begin or expand rent control policies to include those formerly exempted properties. These policies could be much more stringent than the recently passed law that limits most rent increases in the state to 5 percent plus inflation.

housing livable Housing developers new state laws multifamily properties rental tenant protections Single-family homes rent policies