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Prop 21: California Voters Get (Another) Chance To Vote On Rent Control

Rosewood Park, a senior housing complex in Commerce, California, where residents say new owners have drastically increased rents. The City is considering enacting rent control rules after rents were increased sharply at a senior housing complex.
Andrew Cullen for KPCC
Rosewood Park, a senior housing complex in Commerce, California, where residents say new owners have drastically increased rents.

Rent control is always a divisive issue among Californians and it seems like almost every election year, a ballot measure that addresses it in some fashion makes its way onto the ballot. There was one in 2018 and 2020 is no different with Proposition 21.

Rent control is always a divisive issue among Californians and it seems like almost every election year, a ballot measure that addresses it in some fashion makes its way onto the ballot. There was one in 2018 and 2020 is no different with Proposition 21.

If passed, Prop 21 would replace the now 25-year-old Costa-Hawkins Housing Rental Act and allow cities and counties to enact their own rent control measures on rentals, so long as they’re over 15 years old. Landlords who own two or fewer single-family rental properties would be exempt from the new law. Cities and counties would also be able to limit how much a landlord raises rent after a new tenant moves in. Supporters of the legislation say the bill will help prevent families from being pushed out of their neighborhoods by increasing rents, which they say is contributing to the state’s homelessness crisis, and that the majority of landlords won’t be affected because most don’t own more than two rental properties. Opponents argue that if passed, the law will hinder the development of new housing because builders who won’t be able to recoup their costs won’t want to build in California, where it’s already expensive to construct housing.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll hear arguments for and against Prop 21 and take your calls and questions on the initiative at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

René Moya, campaign director for “Yes on 21” and director of Housing Is a Human Right, an advocacy division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Debra Carlton, executive vice president of state public affairs for the California Apartment Association, which opposes Prop 21 and is sponsoring the official “No on 21” campaign

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