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Prop 10: The debate over rent control

Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 19, 2018

Most voters can agree on one thing: affordable housing is difficult to find in California.

“Rent is out of control in the state of California, property values are out of control in California,” said Tom Bordonaro, former California state assemblyman and current San Luis Obispo County Assessor.

“Affordable housing is desperately needed on the Central Coast,” said Joe Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of Peoples’ Self Help Housing.

An initiative could stop your rent from skyrocketing, but will it save California’s housing crisis? The answer to that is widely debated.

On the November ballot, Proposition 10 expands the local government’s ability to enact rent control. If passed, it would repeal the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which sets limits on the kind of rent control policies cities are able to impose.

Striking the law from the books could have a significant impact on renters, property owners, and developers.

Supporters of the proposition say it will protect tenants from predatory housing practices.

“It certainly would benefit those folks who are able to locate a rent control unit. There’s no doubt that it does positively impact their quality of life by making their housing more affordable,” said Thompson.

Opponents say Proposition 10 would make the housing crisis worse by pushing property owners to transform their properties and sell them, instead of renting them out.

“People that rent houses and own rentals are investors. If they can’t receive a return on their investment, they’re going to sell their investment or they’re not going to put money into it. So for the people that hold on to their rentals, they’re not going to put any money into it and they’ll become slums,” Bordonaro said.

Legislative analysts say local governments could lose tens of millions of dollars in revenue because property owners could end up in a different tax bracket.

Right now, 15 California cities have rent control policies, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.