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Poll: Majority of Californians Favor Proposition Expanding Rent Control

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Published On November 10, 2023 - 11:51 AM

Written By Gabriel Dillard

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California finds a majority (55%) of voters favor a proposition on the November 2024 ballot that would expand local government’s authority to enact rent control on residential property.

In the Central Valley, 54% of voters would support the rent control initiative.

The share of those who favor an expansion of local rent control varies sharply between renters and homeowners (76% to 47%) and partisans (70% Democrats, 32% Republicans, 52% independents), and differs across regions (59% each San Francisco, Los Angeles, Inland Empire; 48% Orange/San Diego).

An increase in the current minimum wage — from $15 an hour to $16 in 2024, with $1 raises each year until it reaches $18 — is also on the November ballot, with 67% favoring the increase, according to the PPIC survey of 2,250 California adult residents conducted Oct. 3–19.

“Majority support for these two ballot initiatives offers a window into the political consequences of workers’ wages, rising prices, and high housing costs in California,” according to the PPIC poll.

The Justice for Renters ballot campaign kicked off May 25 in Los Angeles. A rally in support of the initiative was held in Visalia in August.

“The PPIC poll shows that the majority of voters agree with the Justice for Renters Act – local communities must be allowed to expand rent control. Many people are working hard to make ends meet and still falling short on making the rent,” said Susie Shannon, policy director of advocacy group Housing is A Human Right.

The measure would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995, California’s most important rental housing-protection law, according to the California Apartment Association (CAA).

In repealing Costa-Hawkins, the Justice for Renters Act would allow local governments to impose strict rent control on newer apartments and single-family homes and eliminate the state’s ban on vacancy control, or restricting the amount landlords may charge tenants when a unit becomes vacant.

“With vacancy control, landlords lose any hope of ever charging fair market value for their investment,” said Tom Bannon, CEO of the California Apartment Association, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. “There is little incentive to keep the unit on the market, let alone invest in improvements.”

CAA warns that the proposal could drastically slow the construction of affordable housing, adversely impact homeowners and small landlords and exacerbate the state’s homelessness crisis.

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