Supporters conceded Tuesday night. With almost 96 percent of state precincts reporting, the measure is trailing by a wide margin of 38 to 62 percent.
Even in Los Angeles County, where LA and other cities have rent control laws on the books, only 47 percent of voters supported the measure.
Proposition 10 would have repealed a California law that limits how cities enact rent control. Its defeat is a blow to tenant activists in Los Angeles, and a win for landlords.
“The stunning margin of victory shows California voters clearly understood the negative impacts Prop. 10 would have on the availability of affordable and middle-class housing in our state,” said Tom Bannon, CEO of the California Apartment Association.
Had the law, the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, been repealed, cities with rent control, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, could have opted to expand rent control. One of the provisions of Costa Hawkins? A rule that ensures LA can’t apply rent control to single-family homes and to buildings constructed after 1978.
Supporters of the measure argued that loosening these restrictions would protect more tenants from steep rent increases and unfair evictions.
They’re now calling on governor-elect Gavin Newsom and local leaders to “take immediate action to address sky-high rents by enacting a moratorium on rent increases until state legislation is passed to repeal Costa Hawkins,” according to a statement from supporters.
Amy Schur, campaign director for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, which advocated for the measure’s passage, says the repeal of Costa Hawkins repeal still “has to happen.”
Tenant advocates will work now to try to enact rent control policies in more cities. Once enough cities enact laws, the state government will have to act, she says.
“There is no policy other than rent control that can stem the tide of displacement,” says Schur. “If elected officials care about displacement they will get on board.”
But opponents claimed that strengthening rent control would actually worsen the housing crisis by discouraging the construction of new housing that California and Los Angeles sorely needs.
The opposition campaign was largely funded by some of the nation’s largest real estate investors.
Blackstone, a real estate giant and private equity firm, funneled $6.2 million into the $75.9 million campaign to defeat Proposition 10. But mom and pop landlords also warned that their livelihoods were at stake if the measure passed.
At an election party in Los Angeles, supporters of Proposition 10 took the measure’s defeat in stride, eating tacos and dancing to live music in between discussions about LA’s woeful shortage of affordable housing.”