Rent control

California's Rent Control Ballot Initiative Getting Crushed in New Poll

Only 37 percent of voters said they support Prop. 21, which would give local governments more power to limit rent hikes.

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Rent control is apparently having another tough year on the ballot in California. A new poll finds little support for a state initiative that would give local governments more power to limit rent increases.

Only 37 percent of voters surveyed in a recent poll by the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Government Studies said they'd be voting yes on Proposition 21. This ballot initiative would allow localities to cap allowable rent increases at all properties that are over 15 years old, and limit rent increases on vacant units to 15 percent over three years. Property owners who own no more than two single-family homes would be exempt from the law.

That would mean cities and counties could set rent caps below those found in the state's 2019 rent control policy, which limits annual rent increases statewide to the lesser of 10 percent or 5 percent plus inflation.

Some 49 percent of those surveyed in the U.C. Berkeley poll said they were voting against Prop. 21, while another 13 percent were undecided.

"The poll shows that the more Californians learn about Prop 21, the more opposed they become," said Tom Bannon, the CEO of the California Apartment Association, a landlord trade association that opposes the initiative. "Just as they did two years ago, voters understand that this flawed measure will make California's housing crisis even worse."

In 2018, voters handsomely rejected a similar ballot initiative, Prop. 10, that would have repealed a state law limiting local governments from adopting rent control. That measure captured only 41 percent of the vote.

The U.C. Berkeley poll finds, unsurprisingly, that conservatives and moderate voters are both strongly in the 'No' camp on Prop 21. A majority of those describing themselves as liberal or very liberal support the initiative.

California Assemblyman David Chiu (D–San Francisco), who sponsored the state's 2019 rent control bill, has come out in favor of Prop 21. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), whose last-minute deal-making was crucial to passing rent control last year, has come out against the measure.

"Proposition 21, like Proposition 10 before it, runs the all-too-real risk of discouraging availability of affordable housing in our state," said Newsom in September, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The measure is supported largely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has spent close to $40 million on Prop. 21, nearly double what the group dropped on Prop 10. Opponents of Prop 21, which include business and real estate groups, have spent $73 million fighting the initiative, according to Ballotpedia.

Economists generally oppose rent control for the depressing effects it can have on the supply of new rental units. Developers and landlords, unable to charge market rates for their properties, are less likely to build new housing and more likely to convert existing rental units into for-sale housing, the argument goes. That would, in turn, tend to make long-run affordability problems worse.

Supporters argue that rent control preserves affordable housing, and helps people stay in their homes longer, by limiting unaffordable rent increases.

The current moment is certainly an odd time to enact rent control, given the steep declines in rents in California's most expensive cities. While lots of people in the state are struggling to pay rent, that has more to do with pandemic-related loss of income than sudden rent increases.

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Rent control California Housing Policy Election 2020

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29 responses to “California's Rent Control Ballot Initiative Getting Crushed in New Poll

  1. Surprising.

    1. Quite. I assumed it would pass in a landslide.

      1. California has a high proportion of wishful thinkers, but even a lot of them can see the obvious. Some sort of limited hope for the state.

        1. I suppose even the wishful thinkers have to start noticing that all the cities with rent control have the highest rents, eventually.

    2. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something asq new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use…….USA PART TIME JOB.

  2. Conservatives and moderates oppose it because it will make the problem worse.
    Liberals oppose it because they don’t want local communities talking back to Sacramento.
    But why is a health care foundation lobbying politically for a totally separate issue?

    1. Maybe a political money laundering scheme, like with the Black Lives Matter organization.

      1. I’m sure it’s coincidence that Biden got a record number of “small, individual donations” right in the wake of a wave of donations to BLM using the same “processing service” from which BLM only got a few million.

        1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something asq new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
          Here’s what I do…….EasY EarninG

  3. “The measure is supported largely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which has spent close to $40 million on Prop. 21”

    Or you know spend money on research and medical care for people with actual AIDS.

    1. And $20+ million the year before. Heck, think of how many people they could’ve helped pay the rent.

      1. It’s a dollars in perpetuity thing. Think of how much extra they’d save in San Fran alone if their rent couldn’t go up? Now, across the entire state and given the areas they’re most active in, $40 mil is likely a bargain in the long run.

  4. The measure is supported largely by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)

    St. George in Retirement Syndrome.

    1. “It *looked* like a dragon!”

      “It was a cow, you moron.”

  5. I had mixed feelings on this one, since it’s rent control, which I’m against, but it also returns control to local governments by striking quite a few chunks from the state-wide regulations on what local rent control ordinances can and can’t say. I think the restoration of local control is probably the lesser of the two available evils.

    1. Local control is better, IF it’s for a legitimate government purpose. If it’s not a legitimate purpose the locality issue is irrelevant. That’s why we have a Bill of Rights.

    2. It might be if the local authorities weren’t already responsible for creating the housing shortage that’s driven up rents to insane levels in the first place.

  6. Economists generally oppose rent control for the depressing effects it can have on the supply of new rental units.

    Meanwhile voters oppose it out of spite. “If I have to pay more for my housing, you should too.” Whatever works, man.

  7. Given the latest polls they must be Trump voters.

  8. “In 2018, voters handsomely rejected a similar ballot initiative, Prop. 10, that would have repealed a state law limiting local governments from adopting rent control.”

    OK, forgive me if I’m a bit confused – so many negatives. Reject a prohibition of a ban….Let me try to sort this out.

    Local governments want unlimited rent-control powers.

    A state law limits those powers, however.

    Proposition 10 would have repealed that law, giving local governments unlimited rent-control powers.

    But the voters killed Prop 10.

    So rent-control lost.

    So just say “voters killed a pro-rent control measure which would have…” then describe the specifics of the measure.

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  10. A couple nuggets of sanity from California. The polling on this issue and the polling showing the ballot question to reinstate racial quotas that were outlawed in Ca. in 1996 thanks to Ward Connerly is very likely to fail.

    1. There’s some interesting undertones to the ballot props this year in CA. A lot of them are ending up with the CA Dem party backing one side and the NAACP on the other.

      I can’t imagine the NAACP going over to backing the GOP, but there might be an opportunity for a 3rd party to eat a chunk of the CA Dems’ lunch going forward.

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  12. Rent control is great for the niggers who want to live in the same place for 50 years. It is bad for honest men. As a native Californian, I have to say that the spics and niggers have ruined it.

    1. Piss off with your bullshit. Are you a sock for Misek?

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