Vot­ers re­ject Propo­si­tion 10, halt­ing ef­fort to ex­pand rent con­trol

Marysville Appeal-Democrat - - NATION / STATE - Los An­ge­les Times (TNS)

SACRA­MENTO – Cal­i­for­nia’s Propo­si­tion 10, a bal­lot mea­sure to ex­pand rent con­trol in the state, was de­ci­sively re­jected by vot­ers Tues­day in a vic­tory for the state’s top land­lords who spent mil­lions to de­feat it.

The cam­paign was one of the most ex­pen­sive ini­tia­tive bat­tles in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory with more than $104 mil­lion in to­tal fundrais­ing. With Propo­si­tion 10’s fail­ure, a statewide ban on most new forms of rent con­trol re­mains in ef­fect.

The cam­paign to ex­pand rent con­trol was pitched to vot­ers as hous­ing has be­come less af­ford­able in the state. About 9.5 mil­lion renters – more than half of Cal­i­for­nia’s ten­ant pop­u­la­tion – are bur­dened by high rents, spend­ing at least 30 per­cent of their in­come on hous­ing costs, ac­cord­ing to a Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley study.

To ad­dress the is­sue, ten­ant ad­vo­cates de­cided to go af­ter the Costa­hawkins Rental Hous­ing Act, a state law passed 23 years ago that blocks cities and coun­ties from im­pos­ing rent con­trol on sin­gle-fam­ily homes and apart­ments built af­ter 1995, among other pro­hi­bi­tions. Af­ter a bill to re­peal Costa-hawkins failed in a leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee in Jan­uary, groups turned in sig­na­tures for a bal­lot mea­sure, Propo­si­tion 10, that would have done the same thing. Had the ini­tia­tive passed, lo­cal gov­ern­ments would have been free to add new re­stric­tions on rents, some­thing Los An­ge­les, Berke­ley and other cities were con­sid­er­ing.

But polling showed Propo­si­tion 10 never re­ally caught on with vot­ers. A Septem­ber sur­vey from the non­par­ti­san Pub­lic Pol­icy In­sti­tute of Cal­i­for­nia re­vealed just 36 per­cent of likely vot­ers backed the ini­tia­tive. A month later a poll from the same or­ga­ni­za­tion showed sup­port had de­creased to 25 per­cent.

That drop came amid a blitz of TV ad­ver­tise­ments from op­po­nents who, as of Fri­day, had raised nearly $80 mil­lion to de­feat Propo­si­tion 10. They ar­gued that ex­pand­ing rent con­trol would in­crease the state’s hous­ing short­age, ex­ac­er­bate over­all af­ford­abil­ity is­sues and hurt the in­vest­ments of sin­gle-fam­ily home­own­ers. Much of the fund­ing for the No on 10 cam­paign came from na­tional real es­tate in­vestors with large apart­ment port­fo­lios in Cal­i­for­nia.

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