SAN DIEGO — In the 2024 election, Californians will have a chance to vote on rent control. The measure gathered enough signatures to be eligible for a ballot item.
The rent control measure means voters can have a say in whether to repeal a 1995 law to allow cities to expand rent control and put new restrictions on how much landlords can hike up the rent.
“People are getting gouged, and the working class is hurting,” said Rafael Bautista, the director of the San Diego Tenants Union.
Coming November 2024, Californians can vote to repeal the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which has prevented cities and counties from setting annual rent caps on apartments and single-family homes that are built in after 1995.
“The reality in San Diego once people are evicted it’s very hard to find another place to move into. Rent control can help people stay inside their homes,” Bautista explained.
This is the third time the Los Angeles-based “AIDS Healthcare Foundation” has tried to put rent control on the ballot. Now, they have gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot.
However, California has the statewide rent control since 2019 with the Tenant Protection Act. The state law caps annual rent increases at 10% or 5%, plus the Consumer Price Index.
“We hear that rents are beyond relief, one-bedroom apartments are exceeding $2,400 a month,” Bautista said.
“Don’t just look at that one little single rent payment, and say ‘Oh yes, we need to do this.’ It has a much larger impact on the economy than ultimately, just yourself,” said Chase Wilsey, the Vice President of the Wilsey Asset Management.
Wilsey said rent control can have a trickledown effect on landlords and homeowners. For example, Wilsey said if landlords are not able to charge enough to cover the cost of their properties.
“That’s where it becomes a problem, and you could actually lose out on rental units because people say it’s not worth it to stay in California as a landlord because it’s not profitable, so it could actually hurt the amount of supply on the market and actually have an opposite effect and hurt prices as well,” Wilsey said.
The California Apartment Association (CAA) represents owners and investors of rental homes and apartments.
CAA Director of Marketing and Communications released a statement saying:
In recent years, we joined a broad coalition of pro-housing groups in soundly defeating similar measures from the Michael Weinstein and AHF, namely Props 10 and 21, and we will prepare to fight this latest proposition.
Click here to read more about the CAA’s stance on rent control on the ballot.
“With vacancy control, landlords lose any hope of ever-changing fair market value for their investment,” CAA’s CEO Tom Bannon said.
Click here to view the 2019 California Tenant Protection Law.
About 44% of Californians are renters, according to 2021 U.S. Census Bureau data. More than half of tenants spend 30% or more of their income on rent, including roughly 28% spend more than 50% of their income on housing.
“Rent is generally going to be a function of what you are paying for real estate, and that’s why a lot of times I believe rent control doesn’t quite really work as people want it to,” Wilsey said.