Rent control in California was dealt a major blow in the November 6th midterm election when two-thirds of voters defeated Proposition 10, a ballot referendum that would have repealed the state’s 23-year-old law that severely curtails the ability of municipalities to regulate residential rents. This 30-point defeat came in a state where two out of three respondents in a statewide poll before the election said that housing affordability was a big problem and where renters need to make $32.68 an hour (California’s minimum wage is $11/hour) to afford a two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.
Certainly, some (or much) of Prop 10’s lopsided defeat can be tied to campaign spending. Its proponents, a coalition that included unions and environmental organizations, raised more than $25 million to pass the measure. They argued that expanding rent control would protect tenants, that too many families are forced to move far away from their jobs and even into homelessness, and that with every five percent increase in rent, 2000 people are forced out of their homes. Furthermore, they said, Prop 10 gives local governments the flexibility to decide if regulating rents make sense for their situation, rather than forcing one solution on all. Finally, the pro camp noted that this measure still allows landlords to make reasonable annual increases in rents.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly