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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