Your guide to Proposition 33: Effort to expand rent control

red and blue house with document lines and a pen
(Los Angeles Times )

Proposition 33 would give local jurisdictions in California vastly more power to regulate rents, allowing them to put price caps on homes and situations where they currently cannot.

What will the measure do?

At the moment, state law limits rent increases for tenants in apartments and corporate-owned single-family homes that are older than 15 years. The cap is set at 5% plus inflation, with a maximum increase of 10%.

Local jurisdictions can impose stricter caps, but with limits.

State law generally prohibits local governments from putting rent control on single-family homes, as well as apartments built after February 1, 1995. In some cases, like the city of Los Angeles, that cut-off date is even earlier.

The law allows property owners to charge whatever they want when a unit becomes vacant. Once a new tenant moves in, the limitations take effect.

If Proposition 33 passes, it would repeal the state law that bans localities from capping rent on vacant units, single-family homes and apartments built after Feb. 1, 1995 or earlier.

Local governments wouldn't be required to regulate rents on such properties, but they could if they wanted to.

Who are the supporters?

The measure is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a Los Angeles nonprofit that has been active in housing and planning issues in recent years.

The group was behind two similar statewide rent control initiatives that failed in 2020 and 2018.

Other supporters include labor and tenant organizations such as Unite Here Local 11 and the Coalition for Economic Survival.

Who are the opponents?

Many in the real state industry.

The California Apartment Assn. is organizing a campaign against the measure. The group says it has 13,000 members, and its board members include executives from major apartment owners including Equity Residential and the Irvine Co.

Why is this on the ballot?

It's no secret: Rent in California is sky-high. In 2022, more than 50% of tenant households in the state paid over than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, a level many experts say is a burden on finances.

More than a quarter of tenants shelled out over half their income on housing, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Supporters say Proposition 33 will give local governments tools to ease the affordability crisis for their residents. Opponents counter it will cause developers to build less, thus worsening California's housing affordability.

How much money has been raised?

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.