Rent Control with Teeth: Prop 10 Means the End of Costa Hawkins in California


Rent Control with Teeth: Prop 10 Means the End of Costa Hawkins in California

2018-09-07T10:17:19+00:00September 7th, 2018|Advocacy, Local Updates, National Updates|

“Proposition 10, otherwise known as the Affordable Housing Act, will be on the California ballot on November 6, 2018. A vote yes, by repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995.  Prop 10 would grant local governments throughout the state the ability to adopt rent control.

Costa -Hawkins set limits on rent control policies throughout the state and Prop 10 will give cities new tools to protect affordable housing.

The opposition says that Prop. 10 will only worsen the housing crisis by expanding rent control because, according to a 2016 report from the Legislative’s Analysist’s Office, “likely would discourage new construction.”

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing  was signed by Governor Wilson in 1995 (AB 1164). It places significant limits on the ability of California cities to enact rent control. The three main provisions of the act are, it prohibits cities from applying rent control for any single-family home or condo and any apartment constructed after February, 1995, it prevents cities from establishing rent control or capping rent on units constructed after 1995, and it exempts single-family homes and condos from rent control restrictions.

Costa -Hawkins prohibits cities that established rent control laws before the passage of the Act, in 1995, from expanding rent control in apartments built after 1978 in Los Angles.

The rent control law of Los Angles, the Rent Stabilization Ordinance(RSO). which was passed in 1979, restricts rent control to units built prior to October 1978. For Costa-Hawkins, that means that apartments built in the city after 1978 were exempt from the RSO, the city’s rent control ordinance. The implications of this part of the Act is that long-term tenants who pay below market rate rents could be pressured to move out in favor of tenants who can afford to pay higher rent rates, according to Vote Yes on Prop 10.  (https://voteyesonprop10.org)

If Costa-Hawkins is repealed, cities and counties, according to the “Say Yes on Prop 10,” campaign, will have the authority to implement rent control. The opponents of Prop 10 say expanding rent control could exacerbate a statewide housing shortage and scare off developers worried about policy changes in cities with rent control, according to Curbed-LA.

Since the 1995 passage of Costa Hawkins, landlords of buildings built after 1978 are able to set their own rental rates and change them at any time, provided they give proper notice to tenants. Under the Los Angles ordinance, RSO, landlords have a rent increase cap of three to eight per cent, but this only applies to buildings constructed before October, 1978, since Costa-Hawkins.

Assembly member Richard Bloom introduced a repeal bill of Costa-Hawkins last January, but it failed. According to Bloom, repealing Costa-Hawkins would only give cities more flexibility when setting rent control policies. Cities would still have to go through the process of passing legislation before the repeal would be actualized. Bloom also said that new construction by itself would not solve the affordable housing crisis.

On April 23, 2018, Prop 10 received 595,340 signatures, which was well over the 365,880 required to qualify to be on the November ballot. Of the signatures, 451,261 were reported valid by Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

President of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation(AHF), Michael Weinstein, the state director of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action (ACCE Action),  Christina Livingston, and the founder and executive director of Eviction Defense Network, Elena Popp, filed the statewide ballot initiative nearly a year ago, on October 23, 2017. Prop 10 was filed with the Attorney General’s office as the Affordable Housing Act, and was a citizen’s initiative born out of grassroots community groups such as ACCE along with AHF.”

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