California voters Tuesday soundly rejected Proposition 10, which would have enabled local governments to enact rent-control laws.
Prop 10 would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which bans local rent control on single-family homes and on any housing units built after 1995. Costa-Hawkins also prohibits laws that limit rent increases for new tenants. Costa-Hawkins also froze local rent control laws at the year of their passage, which in Los Angeles was 1978.
Supporters of Prop 10 claimed it would help keep tenants from being pushed into homelessness by skyrocketing rents. Opponents said it would discourage new housing from being built and encourage landlords to leave the rental market, which could exacerbate a housing shortage and actually drive up rents.
The measure came as California and its major cities are dealing with a surge in homelessness and as the cost of housing has risen dramatically in urban areas.
The Los Angeles city Legislative Analyst’s Office has estimated that rent in California is 50 percent higher than other states and concluded that the passage of Prop 10 and related rent control legislation would likely lower rents, but also reduce new construction and lower property values. The impact would have depended on how many municipalities actually enacted rent control laws and how strict those laws were.
The Los Angeles City Council supported Proposition 10. A resolution authored by Councilmen Mike Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson said “local governments throughout the California have the greatest amount of influence in solving the housing affordability crisis, and Proposition 10 provides the tools necessary to make the greatest impact.”
Opponents warned the measure would have harmed the very people it sought to help by causing a shortage of available rental units, while also hurting homeowners and potential buyers.
“Prop. 10 could hurt homeowners by authorizing a new government bureaucracy that can tell homeowners what they can and cannot do with their own private residence. It could make homes more expensive for future buyers and hurt families trying to purchase their first home.” Stephen White, president of the California Association of Realtors, said in a statement.