28 Oct PROP 21–CALIFORNIA LOCAL RENT CONTROL INITIATIVE (2020)–VOTE YES
By Community Coalition Action Fund’s Member-Led Committee:
Pastor Byron Smith
Prop 21 expands local governments’ authority to enact rent control on residential property. Amends state law to allow local governments to establish rent control on residential properties over 15 years old. Allows limits on annual rent increases to differ from the current statewide limit. Allows rent increases in rent-controlled properties of up to 15% over three years at the start of the new tenancy (above any increase permitted by local ordinance).
Exempts individuals who own no more than two homes from new rent-control policies. Under California, the law prohibits rent control from violating landlords’ right to fair financial return.
Lead: Renters and Homeowners United to Keep Families in Their Homes.
Organizations: AIDS Healthcare Foundation, ACLU of Southern California, Los Angeles Tenants Union, ACCE Action, Eviction Defense Network, National Lawyers Guild, and Democratic Socialists of America, Los Angeles
California for Responsible Housing, Californians to Protect Affordable Housing, Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc., Equity Residential, Essex Property, Trust, Inc., Affiliated Entities, California Conference of Carpenters, California State Association of Electrical Workers, State Building and Construction Trade Council of California, California District of Iron Workers, Equity Residential, Invitation Homes, AMVETS, Department of California, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, California Seniors Advocates League, Congress of California Seniors, American Legion, Department of California, California Chamber of Commerce, California NAACP State Conference and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
Pros: This initiative will allow California to pass sensible limits on rent increases and protect families, seniors, and veterans from skyrocketing rents by:
- Limiting annual rent increases,
- Preserving current affordable housing,
- Incentivizing the construction of new housing,
- Exempting single-family homeowners who own up to two homes,
- Prevents displacement and guarantee landlords a fair profit.
Cons: According to the opposition, if approved, it will impact renters by discouraging private-sector builders from bringing more affordable housing units to the market. Grants new powers to regulatory bodies to impose or modify policies eliminates homeowners’ protection by telling single-families how much they can charge and cannot be easily changed without statewide initiative.
Why Does It Matter To South LA?
Year after year, wages in California have remained stagnant, while rents have increased. Half of all renters statewide—more than 3 million households—spend more than 30% of their income paying rent.
While high rents disproportionately affect low-income households, people of color, seniors, and families with children, California’s housing crisis has a ripple effect that impacts renters, homeowners, and middle-income families. As millions face unemployment and even further housing insecurity, COVID-19 has made a brewing housing crisis reach its boiling point. If passed, Prop 21 would bring tenant-friendly protections that limit rent increases and prevent displacement.