Do You Pay Too Much For Rent?

Californian Renters Have Had Enough!

Year after year, wages in California have remained stagnant, while rents have increased astronomically. Half of all renters statewide — more than 3 million households — spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent, meeting the federal government’s definition of “rent-burdened.”

It’s not just renters: 16 percent of SoCal homeowners are also cost-burdened.

While high rents disproportionally and adversely affect low-income households, people of color, seniors, and families with children, California’s housing affordability crisis has a ripple effect that affects renters, homeowners, middle-income families, and low-income families alike. COVID-19 has made a brewing crisis hit its boiling point as millions of Californians face staggering unemployment and even further housing insecurity.

Housing is at the intersection of everything.
It affects everything and everyone. 

A Brewing Crisis Has Reached its Boiling Point

Have you wondered what rent control is and why our communities need it? Check out our video to learn more!

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What Else Do I Need to Know About Prop 21?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Prop 21?

Prop 21 is a November 2020 state ballot initiative that will limit rent increases and preserve affordable housing to keep CA families in their homes. Prop 21 would allow local communities to enact or expand rent control policies that limit how much rental prices can increase each year. It does not require any city or county to adopt rent control, but it gives them the choice to do so.

Why do we need Prop 21?

California is home to the nation’s worst housing affordability and homelessness crises. One in three renters pays more than half their income in rent. Without rent control, corporate and predatory landlords will continue their rent gouging, pushing people out of their homes and onto the streets. Prop 21 would give millions of seniors, families, and working Californians stability and peace of mind.

I’m a homeowner, how will Prop 21 affect me?

Prop 21 will have no direct effect on you if you are not a landlord or a renter. Our ballot measure explicitly exempts homeowners who own no more than two single-family homes. And Prop 21 will guarantee landlords a fair profit.

Who supports Prop 21?

Prop 21 is supported by policy makers such as Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Maxine Waters; legendary activist Dolores Huerta; and advocacy and grassroots organizations like Courage California, Our Revolution, the Los Angeles Urban League, In the Meantime, The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action, Democratic Socialists of America - Los Angeles, Faith in Action, Inquilinos Unidos, Los Angeles Center for Community Law & Action,  National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles (NLG LA), and many more.

Who is against Prop 21?

Prop 21 and efforts to protect California renters have been aggressively targeted and opposed by the California Apartments Association, the state's most powerful landlord lobbying group; publicly-traded real estate investment trusts such as Essex Property Trust, Equity Residential, Blackstone Group; Wall Street interests; the California Association of Realtors; and people like Tom Bannon (CAA), Sam Zell (Equity Residentials), Thomas J. Coates (Jackson Square Properties), John Eudy (Essex Properties Trust), Barry Altshuler (Equity Residential), Jackie Safier (Prometheus Real Estate Group), Russell Flynn (Bay Area Landlord), Tim Naughton (AvalonBay Communities), Tom Toomey (UDR) and notorious eviction landlord Dennis Block.

Will this raise taxes?

No. In fact, it could help limit tax increases. Prop 21 will help keep more people housed, which means fewer services needed for unhoused people in your community. In fact, homelessness is extremely costly for the state: a chronically homeless person costs the taxpayer an average of $35,578 per year. Those services are paid for with your property taxes. The fewer services that people need, the less property taxes will increase.

How does rent control work?

Prop 21 allows for reasonable rent increases once a year, which is called rent stabilization. With rent stabilization, renters  have a better idea of what their rent increases will be for the next year and adjust their budgets for it while allowing a landlord to have money to invest back into the unit for repairs, insurance, and taxes. 

What if my city already has rent control?

Prop 21 won’t change the rent control laws already in place. But it will give your community the right to expand your current rent control laws to protect more low-income and working-class renters.

Don’t landlords have a right to make a profit?

Prop 21 guarantees a landlord’s right to a fair profit. That means that any city or county that adopts rent control will not infringe on a landlord’s right to a return on their investment.

I’m confused about the 15% thing, does that mean my rent will go up 15% every year?

No. Vacancy control has no impact on how much rent is charged while a tenant is living in the unit. It guides how much the cost of an apartment can be increased before the next tenant moves in. The rent for the new tenant will only be increased based on the allowable rent increase for that year. Landlords could add 15% if the previous tenant lived there for more than three years to upgrade the unit.

Right now, landlords can raise the cost of rent on any apartment as much as they like after a tenant moves outsometimes doubling or even tripling the cost of rent on a unit without putting much investment in the unit. This leads to unsustainably high rents for all of us and encourages evictions of longer-term renters, especially seniors. Prop 21 will help take the target off of the backs of long-time renters.

Why doesn’t Prop 21 institute a rent cap directly?

Prop 21 does not preclude the adoption of statewide rent regulations. (In fact, we encourage our elected officials to do more to protect renters and homeowners alike!) It affords local communities the power to set limits on rent increases depending on conditions locally, as they see fit. Right now, both the state and local communities have very limited powers to do so. Prop 21 will change that.

Didn’t California already pass rent control?

No. Assembly Bill 1482 went into effect at the beginning of 2020 to address only the most excessive rent increases, While AB 1482 is a significant first step, renters need further protection. AB 1482 limits rent increases to 10% each year, which is still unacceptably high if your income doesn’t go up 10% each year.

In fact, research shows that AB 1482 only directly impacts 7% of rent increases in the state, meaning the vast majority of renters will still absorb rent increases that far outstrip the cost of living.

In fact, AB 1482 only protects a limited number of tenants, and it expires in ten years. Prop 21 would never expire, and it would cover mobile home renters as well as other types of housing. 

Will this ballot measure prevent me from evicting a problem tenant?

No. Prop 21 doesn’t interfere in a landlord’s ability to provide a safe and habitable unit for their tenants. It does not prevent landlords from raising rents or evicting problem tenants.