Rent control ballot initiative filed in Santa Ana

Tenant advocates in Santa Ana have filed preliminary paperwork to place a rent control measure on the November ballot.

The city attorney will have 15 business days to put together a title and summary for the measure. After a public notice is published by the city, the proponents will then have 180 days to gather roughly 12,000 valid signatures to place the initiative on the ballot.

The ballot measure, dubbed the “Community Preservation, Rent Stabilization and Renters’ Rights Act,” would use the rate of inflation to set caps on annual rent increases, with a hard limit at 5 percent. It also would impose “just cause” eviction policies in the city.

The filing of the initiative came just weeks after the Santa Ana City Council rejected rent control at a public study session.

The California Apartment Association, which opposes rent control in all forms, will lead a coalition to defeat the proposal.

“The tenant activists are looking to force a very bad housing policy on a good city,” Tommy Thompson, senior vice president of CAA in Southern California, told the Orange County Register. “Rent control would only make the housing crisis in Santa Ana worse.”

Santa Ana is the latest Southern California city where tenant activists are pursuing rent control via the ballot box.

Farther south, tenant activists in National City recently received approval to begin collecting signatures for a rent control measure targeted for November. Efforts to place rent control before voters also are underway in Glendale, Inglewood, Long Beach and Pasadena.

At the same time, tenant operatives are attempting to qualify a statewide ballot measure to repeal the  Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, landmark legislation that protects property owners and renters from radical, local rent control measures.

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