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Prop 10: The Big Battle To Remove Limits On Rent Control

by Jeff Powers, published

San Diego, CA.- Prop. 10 is developing into a huge battle as rent control advocates and those opposed dig in their heels.

Since 1995, under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, Californians who rent apartments, single-family homes or condominiums have had limited protections from rising prices.

That could change if voters pass Proposition 10 in November.

The ballot measure would let cities and counties expand or enact rent control by overturning the 1995 law.

And the debate comes as affordable housing continues to be a challenge for many Californians.


Yes on 10 supporters say rent control is necessary to keep low-income and disenfranchised Californians in their homes.

About a third of renters spend more than half of their income on rent. Projections estimate California needs to roughly double its rate of housing production to meet its growing population's needs by 2025.

According to Zillow, the median rent for a 1 bedroom in Los Angeles is about $2,300 per month. In San Francisco, it's more than $3,600 per month. And in San Diego it's approaching almost $2,000.

Supporters say rent control prevents landlords from unexpectedly increasing rent, it provides tenants with a layer of financial security that can be beneficial for working-class individuals and families.  They say the argument that developers are disincentivized with rent control doesn't play as local jurisdictions could consider whether new construction would be subjected to rent control if Proposition 10 passes.


No on 10 Opponents argue it will lower real estate values, further decreasing the state's already-limited housing supply and stifle building.

Economists widely agree rent control ultimately limits supply, and would drive small landlords out of business.

Matthew Fienup is the executive director of California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting, Fienup isn't a fan of rent control. In speaking to an audience at his university Fienup noted, "While the proposition is well-intentioned and aims to improve California’s housing affordability issues, rent control is a counterintuitive idea that will only make the situation worse," he continued, "because rent control places additional restrictions on real estate developers, they will be disincentivized from building in cities that have rent control policies, which will worsen the supply-and-demand issues that have plagued the state’s housing market for years."

Anti-Prop 10 spokesman Steve Maviglio agrees,"This will make a bad problem worse."


The latest PPIC polling shows Prop. 10 is trailing and failing to attract statewide support.

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