Voters Will Get a Chance to Repeal State’s Rent Control Limits

A ballot initiative that would allow municipalities to expand rent control throughout California will go before voters this fall. A tenant advocacy group says it has collected enough signatures to place repeal of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act on the November 2018 ballot.

If it passes, the measure could have major implications for housing in California. Since 1995, the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act has prevented cities from capping rental prices on properties built in or after February of that year. In cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland, it prevents rent control on dwellings built after 1970s and 80s.

Supporters of the measure, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, say repeal is necessary to address the state’s pressing housing crisis. But opponents argue it would move California in the opposite direction, contributing to a shortage of housing and ultimately driving housing prices up further. A 2017 study from Stanford economists Rebecca Diamond and Tim McQuade titled “The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco” seem to bolster those claims.

Read the full text of the ballot measure here