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Prop 21

a YES vote supports this ballot initiative to allow local governments to enact rent control on housing that was first occupied over 15 years ago, with an exception for landlords who own no more than two homes with distinct titles or subdivided interests.

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a NO vote opposes this ballot initiative, thereby continuing to prohibit rent control on housing that was first occupied after February 1, 1995, and housing units with distinct titles, such as single-family homes.

Official Arguments (click ▸ to expand)

✅Support

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 21! KEEP FAMILIES IN THEIR HOMES, PRESERVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, STOP HOMELESSNESS, AND SAVE TAXPAYERS MONEY. Where are people supposed to live in California? The housing crisis rages on as rising rents and stagnant wages leave many behind. The consequences are felt by everyone. Neighbors are forced from communities, renters face uncertainty, and the most vulnerable people end up on the streets. Small businesses are squeezed as renters spend less in their communities and workers face longer commutes. Living paycheck to paycheck makes it difficult for teachers, grocery clerks, and nurses to afford housing in the communities they serve, while still having enough money for basics like groceries, gas, and childcare. And skyrocketing rents have led to over 150,000 homeless people living on the streets. The crisis is only getting worse. The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of workers unemployed and at risk of losing their homes. According to a UCLA study, we are facing a surge in homelessness. By tackling one of the root causes of the crisis, Prop. 21:

  • SAVES TAXPAYERS MONEY

A 2017 study found that just a 5 percent increase in rent pushes 2,000 Los Angeles residents into homelessness. The burden of rising homelessness in California is paid for by taxpayers. The cost of homelessness, estimated at $35,000 to $45,000 annually per homeless person, is unsustainable. Prop. 21 ensures that fewer people lose their homes, saving taxpayers money.

  • KEEPS FAMILIES IN THEIR HOMES

Prop. 21 will help children, parents, seniors, and essential workers stay in their homes. Right now, children are pushed out of their schools, parents are forced into long commutes, and seniors are faced with unaffordable rents. More and more people are being pushed out onto the streets. Proposition 21 provides reasonable and predictable rent increases for members of our community.

  • BRINGS STABILITY TO SENIORS AND VETERANS

Seniors and veterans are struggling with devastatingly high rents, leaving little for food, medical care, and other necessities. Prop. 21 allows local communities to limit their rent increases and preserve affordable housing. It helps seniors and veterans stay in their homes.

  • PROTECTS SINGLE-FAMILY HOMEOWNERS

Prop. 21 exempts single-family homeowners. If you are not in the rental home business, you will NOT be affected by Prop. 21.

  • KEEPS HOUSING COSTS DOWN

Families, teachers, and nurses are struggling to find housing due to skyrocketing rents. Prop. 21 allows our communities to preserve affordable housing and encourages the construction of new homes. This will make housing affordable for all.

  • GUARANTEES LANDLORDS A PROFIT

Prop. 21 GUARANTEES landlords a profit. It is fair to mom-and-pop landlords and renters alike. YES on Prop. 21 is supported by a broad coalition of elected officials, labor unions, civic organizations, national social justice groups, local tenants unions, and legal aid organizations. Proposition 21 helps families, children, senior citizens, and veterans stay in their homes. Learn more at yeson21ca.org. DOLORES HUERTA, President The Dolores Huerta Foundation KEVIN DE LEÓN, President pro Tempore Emeritus California State Senate CYNTHIA DAVIS, Chair of the Board of Directors AIDS Healthcare Foundation

🚫Opposition

PROP. 21 IS A DEEPLY FLAWED SCHEME THAT WILL INCREASE HOUSING COSTS AND HURT CALIFORNIA'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY If Prop. 21 seems familiar, it’s because nearly 60% of California voters rejected the same flawed scheme in 2018. Seniors, veterans and affordable housing experts all oppose Prop. 21 because it will make housing less available and less affordable at a time when millions of Californians are struggling to get back to work and keep a roof over their heads. The California Council for Affordable Housing calls Prop. 21 a "flawed idea." Here's how Prop. 21 will make things worse: REPEALS HOUSING LAW WITH NO SOLUTION Prop. 21 does nothing to address California's housing shortage. Instead, it undermines the strongest statewide rent control law in the nation signed by Gov. Newsom and enacted just last year with no plan to build affordable and middle-class housing or deal with the increasing problem of homelessness on our streets. ELIMINATES HOMEOWNERS PROTECTIONS Prop. 21 takes away basic protections for homeowners and allows regulators to tell single-family homeowners how much they can charge to rent out a single room. Millions of homeowners will be treated just like corporate landlords and subject to regulations and price controls enacted by unelected boards. REDUCES HOME VALUES UP TO 20% Non-partisan researchers at MIT estimate extreme rent control measures like this result in an average reduction in home values up to 20%. That's up to $115,000 in lost value for the average homeowner. Californians can't afford to take another hit with the economic collapse threatening their home values and life savings. OFFERS NO PROTECTIONS FOR SENIORS, VETERANS OR THE DISABLED Prop 21 has no protections for seniors, veterans or the disabled, and it has no provision to reduce rents. Veterans, seniors, social justice organizations and the American Legion, Dept. of California, agree it's the last thing we need right now. ALLOWS EXTREME REGULATIONS Prop. 21 allows local governments to establish extreme and permanent regulations on nearly all aspects of housing. For example, even after a tenant moves out, property owners won't be able to establish rents at market rates or pay for investments in repairs or upgrades. It simply goes too far. MAKES THE HOUSING CRISIS WORSE Californians are experiencing a severe housing affordability crisis in the most devastating economic and public health emergency of our lifetimes. The last thing we should do is pass an initiative that will stop new housing from being built, cost jobs, and hurt the economic recovery. OPPOSED BY A BROAD BIPARTISAN COALITION Democrats and Republicans agree Prop. 21 will make the crisis worse. Opponents include: California Council for Affordable Housing • Disabled American Veterans, Dept. of California • California Housing Consortium • Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council • California Chamber of Commerce DEMAND REAL SOLUTIONS We should vote "NO" on Prop. 21 and demand real solutions. VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 21 Learn more at NoOnProp21.vote EDWARD J. GRIMSLEY, State Commander American Legion, Dept. of California LORRAINE J. PLASS, 3rd Vice Commander AMVETS, Dept. of California PATRICK SABELHAUS, Executive Director California Council for Affordable Housing

🚫 San Francisco Chronicle

"While researchers have found that rent control can confer substantial benefits on affected tenants, it does so at the expense not only of property owners but also of other tenants. And those benefits are not reliably distributed to those who need them most. The greatest cost, meanwhile, will be to a housing market that can ill afford it, further restricting supply and inflating prices. Californians should vote no on Prop. 21 or risk aggravating the crisis it purports to address."

🚫 The San Diego Union-Tribune

"In 2018, state voters decisively rejected Proposition 10, another rent control measure. Then in 2019 state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted Assembly Bill 1482, a rent control bill. Apparently, Sacramento didn’t get the message. It’s time to send another one. Rent control is the wrong way to help Californians struggling with housing. Lawmakers who are juggling a lot during this pandemic need to not lose sight of that. The long-term solution is listening to experts and building new houses."

✅ American Civil Liberties Union SoCal

"Vote for rent control and affordable housing.

Prop 21 allows local communities to institute or expand rent control, which would limit rent increases and preserve affordable housing. California’s housing crisis impacts renters, homeowners, middle-income families, and low-income families alike. With increasing rent and stagnant wages, a raging pandemic, and evictions and homelessness on the rise, it’s never been more vital to protect renters. Vote YES on Prop 21 to prevent displacement and keep families housed."

✅ Los Angeles Times

"Ultimately, the solution to California’s housing crisis is to build more housing, especially affordable housing. That will take reforming zoning codes and regulations that make it impossible to build apartments and townhomes in many communities across the state. It will require reducing onerous fees and bureaucratic hurdles that layer on costs and push up the price of new homes. This is vital work to make California more affordable, but it will take years to construct enough homes to bring down prices. Until then, rent control can be a helpful tool to provide housing stability."

🚫 The Mercury News

"Throughout all this, however, the economic fundamentals remain the same: High rents in California are due to a shortage in the housing supply. We simply haven’t built homes fast enough to keep up with population growth. As a result, more people are competing for limited numbers of dwellings. But the tougher the rent restrictions in the state, the less likely developers will construct desperately needed units. Rent control will only make the housing shortage worse. Which is why voters should reject Proposition 21 on the Nov. 3 ballot."

🚫 Orange County Register

"Preponderant majorities of economists across the political spectrum have repeatedly criticized rent control for reducing the quality and quantity of housing. California’s housing woes trace to our lawmakers and regulators, who over the years have imposed a licensing, permitting and construction regime that raises costs and makes home construction more difficult. Rent control would just add one more layer of complication to the process, and demoralize key market participants unnecessarily."

🚫 The Desert Sun

"As was true in 2018, this measure would only make California’s real housing problem — the dearth of affordable housing development — more difficult. It will only add the uncertainty of local rent control boards to California’s already Byzantine and costly housing development process."

✅ California Democratic Party

"Keeps families in their homes, prevents homelessness, and preserves affordable housing."

🚫 Republican Party

"Makes Housing Crisis Worse

Prop 21 gives unelected bureaucrats power to add fees on apartments and even some single-

family homes -- all without a vote of the people. Prop 21 will make the housing crisis worse."