The California Secretary of State's Office announced that enough valid voter signatures were submitted to place the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 before voters this fall.
Led by Michael Weinstein, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and an AHF division called "Housing Is a Human Right," the proposition seeks to pick up where 2018's failed Proposition 10 left off.
Proposition 10 was an attempt to repeal the 1996 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins), which attempted to remove necessary restrictions on the types of rent regulations that cities can enact.
Costa-Hawkins prohibits cities from enacting rent caps on single-family homes, condominiums and new construction (properties built after 1995 or after the enaction of rent control ordinances previously enacted in cities like San Francisco) and allows owners and operators to set rents to market rates when an existing resident moves out and a new resident moves in, also known as vacancy decontrol.
Proposition 10 was overwhelmingly defeated by voters last November, with 59 percent opposed. Rather than a wholesale repeal of the law, the new proposal seeks to modify Costa-Hawkins by expanding local authority to control rents on properties 15 years or older and placing strict limitations on vacancy decontrol.
Local governments could pass laws that prevent rental housing providers from increasing rents to market rate immediately upon vacancy. Instead, owners and operators would be required to incrementally raise rental rates up to 15 percent over three years.
Units that are less than 15 years old and units owned by single-family homeowners who own up to two homes would be exempt.
This effort comes on the heels of recent legislation signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, A.B. 1482, which caps rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation each year, requires relocation assistance for renters, funded by owners and operators, and establishes just cause eviction protections for renters.
Unlike the new law that expires in 2030, Weinstein's proposal suggests changes that would be permanent.