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California Dreamin’ About More Rent Control

Rent Control

Rent control continues to be pushed as a way to address housing affordability by tenants’ rights groups and state and local level governments in California. 

As AB1506 – a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act – has stalled, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (a spin-off of the now defunct group ACORN) has launched an effort to repeal the Costa-Hawkins through a statewide ballot measure. Initial documents were filed with the state Attorney General’s office on October 23rd, and within the next 60 days the proposal will be given a title and summary. After it receives final approval, supporters will need to gather 365,880 valid voter signatures within a six-month window to qualify for the 2018 ballot. 

At the local level, there has also been a significant amount of rent control activity. 

In Santa Cruz, the Lower Ocean Neighborhood Assembly and Santa Cruz Tenant Organizing Committee are both gearing up to bring rent control to the city. Their focus is mobilizing supporters for a ballot measure proposal next year. 

Meanwhile, in Glendale, the Glendale Tenants Union presented the City Council with more than 11,000 signatures in support of a rent control initiative in the city. However, a filing error has prevented this measure from advancing forward.

While it appears that the San Francisco Bay Area has been a hotbed of support for rent control advocates, the City of Palo Alto has taken a much different approach than neighboring Mountain View. Three City Council members – Karen Holman, Lydia Kou, and Tom DuBois – requested that rent control measures be studied. The request went down in flames with a final vote of 6-3. In speaking against rent control, Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff pointed out that while rent control proponents may have the best intentions, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

For more information, or to seek guidance if a state bill or local proposal to address rent regulation comes up, please contact Robert Melvin, Manager of Government Affairs,