Vote NO on 
Prop 21

We need real solutions, not the same poorly written initiative on the ballot year after year.
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Proposition 21 does nothing to address California’s housing crisis.

It repeals portions of California’s rent control law that protects single family homeowners and has no plan to build affordable and middle-class housing or deal with the increasing problem of homelessness on our streets. There are no protections for renters, seniors, veterans or the disabled, and it has no provision to reduce rents. For Californians losing jobs and both renters and homeowners who are struggling, this poorly written initiative is the last thing we need.

Proposition 21 is Bad for California

Reduced Availability of Affordable and Middle-Class Housing.

Independent academic experts from Stanford and U.C. Berkeley agree extreme rent control policies discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

Grants New Powers to Regulatory Bodies to Impose or Modify Rent Policies – Without Public Oversight.

Proposition 21 will change existing law to allow extreme rent control regulations and rules to be locally- enacted by unelected rent boards. These boards could change the cost and availability of housing with no requirements that they seek public input or that they hold a public vote.

Eliminates Homeowner Protections.

Proposition 21 allows regulators to tell single-family homeowners how much they can charge to rent out their homes – even if they just want to rent a single room. Homeowners will be subject to regulations and price controls enacted by unelected boards.

Cannot Be Easily Changed Without Another Statewide Initiative.

Proposition 21 can only be amended by the legislature with a 2/3 vote and only to further its purpose. Another ballot measure would be required to change any substantive problems.

What Others Are Saying?

“This initiative will only further the economic pain created by COVID-19 that is hurting working families across the state, including the men and women of the building trades. It will stifle housing construction and increase housing costs while killing thousands of good-paying union jobs our economy needs to emerge from this unprecedented crisis.”
Robbie Hunter, 
President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California

Q&A

What is Proposition 21?

Prop 21, The Housing Freeze, is a statewide initiative on the November 2020 ballot. It would repeal portions of the state’s existing rental housing laws (Costa Hawkins) and open the door for extreme forms of rent control to be enacted at the local level. The measure would allow for permanent price caps on all forms of housing, including single family homes and condos. Independent academic experts from Stanford and UC Berkeley agree that policies like the Housing Freeze discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

Who is behind Proposition 21?

Proposition 21’s chief backer is Michael Weinstein, who runs the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) – a billion dollar “non-profit” organization. Weinstein has a long history of misusing AHF funds for his pet political projects, rather than for the organization’s stated goal of helping patients with HIV/AIDS. He has spent millions on efforts to block needed housing developments in LA, opposed union organizing and called renters “transients” that cause neighborhoods to “lose their identity.”

Most recently, Weinstein advanced his anti-housing agenda by funding an aggressive opposition campaign to SB 50 (Wiener), a bill that would have increased housing production near transit. Weinstein spent undisclosed amounts to lobby against the bill, and during the campaign, produced and disseminated racially-charged and controversial mailers targeting Democrat legislators.

Unlike the vast majority of the HIV/AIDs advocacy world, Weinstein has taken controversial stances against the use of PrEP, an HIV preventative medication.

Does California have statewide rent control already?

Yes. Governor Newsom and the Legislature, with the support of numerous stakeholders including affordable housing advocates, labor unions, minority groups, local governments and others, recently passed some of the strongest statewide rent control and renter protections in the nation. Assembly Bill 1482, which became law on January 1, 2020, ensures renters will not face extreme rent hikes or be unfairly evicted from their homes. The new law also provides stability for property owners, ensuring the rental housing supply is not diminished and that housing continues to be built.

AB 1482 was developed with expert and stakeholder input, which resulted in a balanced, well thought out policy. It caps annual rent increases at 5% plus CPI, exempts single family homes unless they are owned by corporations and contains “just cause” protections for renters so they cannot be unfairly evicted.

On the other hand, the Housing Freeze has been put on the ballot by one man with a deep-pocketed organization. It would allow for extreme forms of rent control that do not consider the costs property owners incur to maintain their properties. It disregards both the legislative process and the will of voters who defeated a similar measure by 20 points in 2018.

Didn’t voters just vote on this same Proposition in 2018?

This is the second attempt by Weinstein to pass an initiative that would allow for extreme forms of rent control to be enacted at the local level. His latest initiative is virtually identical to Proposition 10, which was defeated by voters by a nearly 20-point margin in 2018. Despite his claims to the contrary, this latest “Housing Freeze” is fraught with the same flaws as Prop 10.

Are single family homes exempt?

No, Weinstein’s Housing Freeze initiative would allow for extreme forms of rent control to be applied to single family homes and condos. Anyone who holds title for their home in a family trust, a partnership, or the like would be subject to permanent price caps when renting their home. Roughly a third of all homes are held in a trust. Additionally, anyone with more than two single family homes would be subject to rent control under the measure.

Would Proposition 21 allow for a 15 percent increase in rent in the first year?

Yes. Weinstein’s Housing Freeze contains a poorly-written provision that would allow for a 15-percent increase in rent during the first year of tenancy.

Won’t Proposition 21 also reduce the rental housing stock over time by imposing permanent price caps on rental housing?

Proposition 21, The Housing Freeze, is the worst of both scenarios. It allows for a 15 percent increase in the first year of tenancy, which is more than many tenants can pay. But, it also allows for a form of permanent price caps, which encourages owners to leave the rental market all together and discourages investments in new rental housing. Both of these scenarios make the housing crisis worse.

The Housing Freeze authorizes extreme forms of rent control that prohibit owners from adjusting the rent to the market rate when there are new tenants, and allows for only a 15 percent adjustment above the previous tenants’ rent. It doesn’t matter how long the previous tenants lived in the unit or if the local government had capped rents on previous tenants to below the price of inflation, which some local governments now do. Policies like the Housing Freeze have been found by independent experts to discourage new construction and reduce availability of affordable and middle-class housing, driving up rents for many Californians.

We have a statewide rent control law on the books that protects renters, but avoids the pitfalls of the Housing Freeze.

Paid for by No on Prop 21: Californians for Responsible Housing, a coalition of seniors, veterans, affordable housing advocates, labor & social justice organizations, sponsored by California Apartment Association. Committee Major Funding from Essex Property Trust and Affiliated Entities; Equity Residential; and AvalonBay Communities.
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