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Debating the proposed ballot initiative to repeal California’s rent control law




A sign advertising an apartment for rent is displayed in front of an apartment building July 8, 2009 in San Francisco, California.
A sign advertising an apartment for rent is displayed in front of an apartment building July 8, 2009 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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The battle over rent control in cities across California may come to a head later this year.

A ballot initiative that’s currently called the “Affordable Housing Act,”currently in its signature-gathering phase, would repeal the 23-year-old Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law that prevents rent control from being applied to any housing built in 1995 or after. The initiative is backed by Los Angeles tenants rights attorney and Eviction Defense Network founder Elena Popp, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein.

Proponents of the measure say repealing Costa-Hawkins would be a big step forward in combating the affordable housing crisis that is impacting cities across the state, arguing that the amount of housing California needs to keep pace with demand will take years to build, and that a repeal would provide immediate relief to tenants who have seen rents skyrocket and neighborhoods that were once affordable become gentrified and expensive.

Groups that are opposed, who include the California Apartment Association, the California Building Industry Association, and the California Chamber of Commerce, worry that if the measure were to pass, cities and counties would pass their own, potentially more stringent rent control laws, which they say would effectively halt new housing construction.

Do you agree with the repeal of Costa-Hawkins? Do you see positive or negative results overall if the measure were to make the ballot and pass?

Guests:

Anya Svanoe, communications coordinator for The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a statewide grassroots community organization and one of the official proponents of the ballot proposal

Tom Bannon, chief executive officer for the California Apartment Association



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