Last year’s expensive battle over a California ballot measure that would have allowed cities to expand rent controls should be a wake-up call for the real estate industry, National Multifamily Housing Council vice president Jim Lapides said during ULI’s Housing Opportunity 2019 conference.

California voters soundly defeated Proposition 10, but it was one of the costliest ballot initiatives in U.S. history, with groups spending more than $100 million to either support or defeat the initiative.

“We cannot keep having these fights,” Lapides said. “It behooves us to come to the table with real workable solutions that are palatable to policymakers and their constituents.”

Lapides moderated a panel focused on the new reality of the polarizing rent-control debate. With rental rates skyrocketing in cities around the country, more states are exploring ways to protect tenants and address the mounting issues of affordable housing, without wading into the controversial morass of rent control.

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