November 7, 2018
The Proposition 10 ballot measure that would have expanded rent control in California and significantly impacted multifamily owners and developers across the state was soundly rejected by voters. Prop 10 would have allowed local governments to add new restrictions on rents, and also would have resurrected vacancy controls, which keeps rents capped between tenancies. Under such policies, landlords would be barred from ever returning rents to market levels.
California Apartment Association’s Tom Bannon said, “The stunning margin of victory shows California voters clearly understood the negative impacts Prop. 10 would have on the availability of affordable and middle-class housing in our state.”
Backed by more than $104 million in total fundraising, opponents and proponents waged one of the most expensive initiative battles in the state’s history. The failure of the measure means the existing Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state rent control law passed 23 years ago, remains in effect.
Opponents, primarily from within the commercial real estate industry, argued that expanding rent control would increase the state’s housing shortage, exacerbate overall affordability issues and undermine the investments of single-family homeowners. National CRE landlords and developers with multifamily portfolios in the state provided much of the funding for the No on 10 campaign.
Proposition 10 supporters saw the measure as a quick and cost-efficient way to address rising housing costs for renters, while giving communities more local control to set rent stabilization rules.
The campaign spread beyond California’s borders, since it had the potential to spur similar rent control efforts in other states. The National Multifamily Housing Council called Proposition 10 an “existential threat to the industry.”
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