Papers filed to put rent control on Sacramento city ballot

Tenant advocates have filed preliminary paperwork to place a rent control measure before voters in the city of Sacramento.

The initiative would amend the city charter to impose inflation-based rent control and “just cause” eviction policies in the capital city.

Under the measure, the rent charged as of Feb. 20, 2018, would serve as the base rent. Maximum annual increases would then be tied to the consumer price index. The measure would also create an nine-member rent control board, require landlords to pay an annual rental housing fee, and establish relocation assistance for displaced tenants.

“We are now analyzing the proposed ballot measure, and we are organizing the rental housing industry and our allies to defeat it,” said Jim Lofgren, senior vice president of the California Apartment Association’s North Valley region.

The notice of intent to circulate the initiative petition was filed with the city clerk on Tuesday, Feb. 20. The city attorney will now review the measure, dubbed the Sacramento Renter Protection and Community Stabilization Charter Amendment, and if it meets legal muster, issue a ballot title and summary by March 7.

Rent control proponents can only begin collecting signatures after fulfilling certain procedural requirements. They’ll have until May 15 to qualify the measure for the November election.

The submission of paperwork to place rent control before Sacramento voters comes just one month after tenant advocates in Santa Cruz filed papers for their own rent control measure.

Over the past few years, CAA has successfully fought rent control ballot measures in five Northern California cities: Santa Rosa, Pacifica, Burlingame, Alameda and San Mateo. Voters, however, approved rent control in two cities: Richmond and Mountain View.

Tenant advocates in Southern California are also turning to the electorate to spread rent control. Efforts are now underway to place rent control before voters in cities including Pasadena, Long Beach and Inglewood.

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After defeat of AB 1506, tenant groups turn to initiative to overturn Costa-Hawkins

Tenant operatives are now attempting to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act through a statewide ballot measure targeted for the November 2018 election.

Signature gathering to qualify the initiative began after the state attorney general issued a title and summary for the measure, which you can find here.

Qualifying the ballot measure for the fall became the focus of tenant groups in January after CAA and its allies defeated AB 1506, a bill that would have overturned Costa-Hawkins and brought extreme forms of rent control back to California.

The bill fell just one vote shy of advancing to the Assembly floor, leaving tenant activists and their allies more determined than ever to overturn California’s most important landlord-protection law.

The California Apartment Association has created a campaign committee called Californians for Responsible Housing and is assembling a game plan to defeat the initiative. Within 30 to 45 days, CAA will begin securing assistance from rental property owners throughout the state. Stay tuned for more information and instructions on how you can help.

If you haven’t already, be sure to bookmark SaveCostaHawkins.org, your resource for news and information on preserving California’s most important landlord-protection law.

Santa Cruz council imposes temporary rent control, just-cause measures

Over the objections of CAA and its members, the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday imposed interim emergency rent control and just-cause eviction ordinances, effective immediately.

Although most attendees objected during public testimony, the council voted to instate a temporary 2 percent cap on rent increases for all apartment buildings built before 1995, with exemptions for condos, townhouses and single-family homes. The council also approved a temporary just-cause ordinance that applies to all housing, including single-family homes and accessory-dwelling units. The only exemption to the just-cause ordinance is for those who own only one rental unit. Landlords with maintenance costs that cannot be covered under the 2 percent cap can request an adjustment by contacting City Manager Martin Bernal at mbernal@cityofsantacruz.com.

The council’s action comes after tenant activists recently filed an initiative to place rent control and just-cause eviction requirements on the November 2018 ballot. Some council members and tenant activists have said the emergency rent control and just-cause measures are necessary to prevent landlords from imposing unreasonable rent increases and conducting mass evictions before Election Day, an assertion disputed by the California Apartment Association.

Both emergency ordinances approved Tuesday are short-term. If the rent control initiative fails to qualify, both ordinances will sunset in September. If the initiative qualifies but fails to pass, the ordinances will sunset in November.

If the rent control initiative ultimately qualifies and is approved by voters, it would cap rents based on the Consumer Price Index , create an elected rent control board and require six months of rent for relocation, to name a few of the more onerous changes. Tenants activists, who need 8,000 valid signatures to qualify the initiative, are now circulating their petition. The California Apartment Association is working to defeat the proposed ballot measure.

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CAA, allies derail AB 1506, the bill to repeal Costa-Hawkins

The California Apartment Association and its allies today derailed AB 1506, a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and bring radical rent control back to California.

This morning, following lead testimony from the California Apartment Association, FPI Management and the California Association of REALTORS, AB 1506 failed passage in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, all but closing the door on the bill for the balance of the legislative session.

Over 400 rental property owners came to the microphone and indicated their opposition to the measure, outnumbering the tenant advocates, who totaled nearly 300.

Following hours of testimony, AB 1506 lacked the needed votes to be passed out of the committee. The failure of the committee to vote the bill out today likely stops the bill from advancing to the Senate by the Jan. 30 legislative deadline.

Stopping AB 1506 — and protecting Costa-Hawkins — was a top priority for CAA. For more than 20 years, the Costa-Hawkins Act has prohibited local governments from applying rent control to units built after 1995, as well as single-family homes, individually owned condominiums and townhouses. Costa-Hawkins also requires all rent control ordinances to allow a rental property owner to set the rent at market rate once a tenant moves out and a new tenant moves in, a policy known as vacancy decontrol.

CAA has argued that repealing Costa-Hawkins would discourage investment in the existing rental housing stock and create a significant disincentive for the construction of new rental housing, worsening the state’s ongoing housing crisis.

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Long Beach city attorney clears signature-gathering for rent control measure

An effort to place rent control and eviction controls before Long Beach voters will soon enter the signature-gathering phase.

On Tuesday, the Long Beach city attorney gave petitioners the green light to begin collecting signatures for a measure titled the Long Beach Rent Control Ordinance.

Once rent control backers publish a notice of intent to gather signatures, they’ll have official clearance to hit the streets. To qualify the measure, need to gather more than 26,000 valid voter signatures in 180 days.

Tenant advocates in Long Beach have been working for several months to reach this point. Late last year, the group Housing Long Beach filed measure language, but it was rejected by the city attorney. The group refiled on Jan. 12.

The California Apartment Association is organizing housing providers and industry partners in the city to ensure that negative and counterproductive housing policies are defeated.

Price controls on the housing market have been proven failures wherever implemented, doing far more harm than good.

If you are interested in getting involved with this issue, please reach out to Fred Sutton, CAA’s vice president of public affairs, at Fsutton@caanet.org.