Campaign website launches to fight rent control measure in National City

CAA members wanting to prevent rent control from taking hold in San Diego County are urged to visit a new website — ProtectOurHousing.com.

The website comes from National City Residents for Fair & Equitable Housing, the campaign fighting the rent control initiative on National City’s Nov. 6 ballot. The California Apartment Association spearheaded the creation of the campaign.

“Measure W is a poorly written ballot measure that jeopardizes the future of National City, the website says. “The flawed Measure W will reduce the number of available rental units in National City and result in the deterioration of the homes that remain. We need to maintain and improve the quality of life in National City, not destroy it.”

Whitney Benzian, CAA’s vice president of public affairs in the San Diego region, urged members to visit ProtectOurHousing.com and join the mounting opposition to Measure W.

“We have the support of Mayor Morrison and many prominent community leaders because they understand this measure will stop all the progress National City has been making the last few years,” Benzian said.

The No on W site includes 10 reasons why voters should reject Measure W, invites visitors to join the No on W campaign and offers a portal for making financial contributions.

In early July, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters confirmed that the National City Rent Control and Community Stabilization Ordinance. had qualified for November’s ballot. The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment had directed the signature-gathering effort to qualify the initiative.

If approved by voters, the ballot measure will create a rent board funded by annual landlord fees, cap annual rent increases based on the rate of inflation and impose “just cause” eviction policies.

“Measure W makes it very difficult to evict problem tenants,” the website against Measure W says. “Those who put the safety of their neighbors at-risk by dealing drugs or engaging in other dangerous activities will be safeguarded from evictions, degrading neighborhood quality of life.”

Rent control group concedes it lacks signatures for ballot measure in Pomona

Pomona has become the latest Southern California city where tenant activists say they haven’t collected enough signatures to qualify a rent control measure for November’s ballot.

Tenant activists in Pomona were unable to collect the 6,256 valid voter signatures needed to qualify their measure for the fall election.

Signature drives to place rent control before voters this fall also have come up short in Long Beach and Pasadena, while campaigns remain active in Glendale, Santa Ana, Inglewood and National City.

The Pomona Housing Stabilization, Fair Rent, and Homeowner Protection Ordinance threatened to create a rent board and cap annual rent increases based on the rate of inflation.

While Pomona Unified for Stable Housing won’t be turning in signatures, it may ask the City Council to place the measure on November’s ballot directly.

Long Beach rent control advocates miss deadline for November ballot

A proposed rent control measure for Long Beach won’t appear before voters in the fall, but the measure could still qualify for a later election.

Housing Long Beach missed its June 1 deadline to submit more than the 27,000 signatures required to qualify the initiative for the city’s November 2018 ballot.

Rent control advocates, however, vowed to keep circulating their petition, and if they file the required number of signatures by July 30, the measure could still appear on a later ballot, likely in March 2020.

The Housing Long Beach measure would limit annual rent increases to the rate of inflation and establish “just cause” eviction policies. The measure also would create a rent board and roll back rents to January 2017 levels.

CAA will continue to work with its allies to defeat any rent control attempt in Long Beach and elsewhere in California.

Efforts to place rent control measures before voters this November remain underway in Southern California cities including National City, Santa Ana, Glendale and Inglewood. A signature-gathering effort to place rent control before voters in Pasadena fell short by more than 2,000 votes.

If you are interested in helping prevent rent control in Long Beach and Inglewood, please reach out to Fred Sutton, CAA’s vice president of public affairs for these cities, at Fsutton@caanet.org.

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Pacifica’s rent control measure defeated in landslide

Pacifica voters on Tuesday, Nov. 7, overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have enacted both rent control and eviction controls on multifamily housing in the city.

Measure C went down in defeat, with 62.03 percent of the vote cast against the proposal. This marks the third time a rent control ballot measure has been resoundingly defeated in San Mateo County. Last year, voters of San Mateo and Burlingame overwhelmingly rejected rent control.

CAA is pleased that voters have rejected a law that would have been disastrous for the city. If implemented, the program would have cost Pacifica nearly $2 million, establish a non-elected bureaucracy at City Hall, diverted money earmarked for street repairs, and led to overcrowding in apartments.

The battle against rent control in Pacifica has been a long one, having started in 2015, when the City Council majority voted against the punitive policy to address the region’s housing shortage. Instead, they voted to create a Rent Advisory Task Force to explore programs that would improve relations between renters and owners. Earlier this year, however, after a change in the makeup of the City Council, the new Council majority overturned that decision, placed Measure C on the ballot, and passed an interim rent control ordinance to be in effect from May to Election Day.

CAA was instrumental in defeating both the temporary ordinance and Measure C, working in partnership with both the local Stop the Hidden Tax committee and the Pacifica Coalition of Housing Equality, which is sponsored by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors. These efforts have helped ensure that neither of these dangerous measures would cause significant damage to Pacifica, its budget, and its housing market.

Santa Rosa rent control defeated

Facing a strong grassroots opposition campaign, Santa Rosa’s rent control and just-cause eviction measure went down in defeat Tuesday, June 6.

The people of Santa Rosa rejected Measure C with 52.5 percent of the vote, compared with 47.5 percent in favor of rent control.

“Voters understood that Measure C would have come at high costs while assisting only a fraction of the population,” said Joshua Howard, senior vice president for the California Apartment Association in Northern California. “Now, Santa Rosa can focus on the real solution to its housing crisis — building more homes.”

Measure C threatened to roll back rents on affected apartments to Jan. 1, 2016, levels and cap rent increases at 3 percent per year.  It would have cost an estimated $1.25 million annually to administer.

Events leading to Tuesday’s special election began in summer 2016, when the Santa Rosa City Council approved a rent control and just-cause ordinance over CAA’s strong objections.

CAA responded with a signature-gathering effort to place the ordinance before Santa Rosa voters. After the referendum qualified, the City Council in January called for the special election.

In the intervening months, CAA spearheaded a grassroots campaign that knocked on over 18,000 doors, sent 19 mailers, engaged voters on social media, helped secure a No on Measure C editorial in the newspaper, and enjoyed strong support from community coalitions, as well as several current and former mayors and council members.

CAA will remain vigilant in its opposition to rent control while advocating for policies that address the root cause of California’s housing crisis – a lack of homes for the state’s growing population.

Voters reject rent control in 3 of 5 cities

Voters in the November election rejected strict rent control laws in Burlingame, San Mateo and Alameda but approved them in Richmond and Mountain View.

In Burlingame and Alameda, voters rejected rent control by a roughly 2-1 margin. Ballots cast in favor of Burlingame’s Measure R garnered 33 percent of the vote, while yes votes for Alameda’s M1 earned 34 percent. In San Mateo, the rent control measure also failed decidedly, with Measure Q receiving just 39 percent approval.

Despite a strong campaign to defeat rent control, Richmond’s Measure L won approval with 64 percent of the vote. Among other things, Measure L has:

  • Rolled rents back to July 2015 levels
  • Limited rent increases to the rate of inflation (CPI)
  • Imposed strict eviction controls
  • Established a rent commission to oversee the rental housing industry in Richmond

Mountain View’s rent control initiative, Measure V, passed with 53 percent of the vote. Enforcement of the law is on hold pending a lawsuit challenging the measure’s constitutionality.

If utlimately implmeneted, Measure V, among other things, will:

  • Roll rents back to October 2015 levels
  • Cap rent increases between 2 percent and 5 percent per year based on CPI with banking unused increases up to 10 percent
  • Impose strict eviction controls
  • Require owners to allow family members of tenants to move in without a credit check so long as the occupancy standards are not exceeded
  • Establish a rent commission to oversee the rental housing industry in Mountain View.