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Statewide Measure to Repeal Vacancy Decontrol and Expand Rent Control Makes Ballot


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By Jorge Casuso

June 15, 2018 -- The campaign to repeal California' vacancy decontrol law and allow cities like Santa Monica to expand rent control was certified for the November ballot Friday.

The certification by the California Secretary of State’s office comes two months after sponsors of the Affordable Housing Act submitted 595 signatures, far more than the 365,880 signatures of certified voters needed to make the ballot.

The signatures were submitted two months ahead of the late June deadline.

Friday's certification "recognizes the hard work of hundreds of Californians, many of whom are struggling to afford rent and make ends meet," campaign director Damien Goodmon said in a statement.

"It recognizes that millions of California residents are struggling to afford their homes and can’t wait any longer for relief.

"It recognizes that Californians are prepared to take back the power to address the housing affordability crisis," Goodman said. "The time for rent gouging by corporate landlords is coming to an end.”

If approved by California voters in November, the Affordable Housing Act will repeal the 1994 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which allows landlords to raise the rents to market rates when most rent control units are vacated.

The law also prevents cities and counties from applying rent control to apartments built after 1995 or to single-family rental units and condos.

If approved, the Affordable Housing Act will also allow cities such as Santa Monica -- where voters approved rent control in 1978 -- to expand their law to single family homes and new construction.

The state legislature will hold a hearing on the issue Thursday, Goodman said. June 21.

"They've got a chance to do what's right and give our cities the power to address skyrocketing rents," he said. "We only go to the ballot if the legislature won't act.”

In January, a bill co-sponsored by Santa Monica Assemblymember Richard Bloom failed to pass out of the Assembly's Housing and Community Development Committee on a 3-2 vote ("Santa Monica Lawmaker's Rental Bill Fails to Pass Committee," January 12, 2018)..

For the proposed law to take effect in rent control jurisdictions, the statewide measure would need to pass, and local voters would need to approve initiatives to expand the rent control laws in their cities.

The Rent Control Board has tabled a motion supporting such a ballot measure twice ("Santa Monica Rent Board Again Tables Measure to Expand Rent Control," April 17, 2018).

The Board cited concerns about the future of the proposed state initiative, Board officials said.


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