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Proposition 10: Rent Control Debate Centers Around Repealing Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

Californians who rent apartments built after 1995, single-family homes or condominiums have limited protections from rising prices under a state law passed that year that significantly restricts rent control.

That could change if voters pass Proposition 10 in November.

The ballot measure would let cities and counties across California expand or enact rent control by overturning the 1995 law, the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.



  • A YES vote on this measure means: State law would not limit the kinds of rent control laws cities and counties could have.
  • A NO vote on this measure means: State law would continue to limit the kinds of rent control laws cities and counties could have.


  • Potential net reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term. Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or considerably more.
  • Ballot impact data and vote text from the California Legislative Analyst's Office


It's one of the highest profile and most expensive issues this election season as California faces a massive housing shortage and steeply climbing rents. Proposition 10 supporters argue rent control is necessary to keep low-income and disenfranchised Californians in their homes. Opponents say it will lower real estate values, further decreasing the state's already-limited housing supply and stifling building. Economists widely agree rent control ultimately limits supply.

Nearly a third of California renters spend more than half of their income on rent, according to the state. Projections estimate California needs to roughly double its rate of housing production to meet its growing population's needs by 2025.

In Los Angeles, the median estimated rent for a 1 bedroom was over $2,300 per month in August, according to real estate website Zillow. In San Francisco, it's more than $3,600 per month.

More than a dozen California cities already have some rent control on older properties, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Proposition 10 would give local governments more flexibility to implement or expand rent control rules while guaranteeing landlords the right to a fair rate of return on their investment. Rent control policies range from curbing how much landlords can raise rents each year to limiting what they can charge new renters.


    Authorizes Bonds to Fund Specified Housing Assistance Programs. Legislative Statute.
    Authorizes Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Program for Individuals With Mental Illness. Legislative Statute.
    Authorizes Bonds to Fund Projects for Water Supply and Quality, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Water Conveyance, and Groundwater Sustainability and Storage. Initiative Statute.
    Authorizes Bonds Funding Construction at Hospitals Providing Children's Health Care. Initiative Statute.
    Changes Requirements for Certain Property Owners to Transfer Their Property Tax Base to Replacement Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
    Eliminates Certain Road Repair and Transportation Funding. Requires Certain Fuel Taxes and Vehicle Fees Be Approved by the Electorate. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
    Conforms California Daylight Saving Time to Federal Law. Allows Legislature to Change Daylight Saving Time Period. Legislative Statute.
    Regulates Amounts Outpatient Kidney Dialysis Clinics Charge for Dialysis Treatment. Initiative Statute.
    Removed from the ballot
    Expands Local Governments' Authority to Enact Rent Control on Residential Property. Initiative Statute.
    Requires Private-sector Emergency Ambulance Employees to Remain on-call During Work Breaks. Eliminates Certain Employer Liability. Initiative Statute.
    Establishes New Standards for Confinement of Specified Farm Animals; Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products. Initiative Statute.

Supporters including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit known for wading into hot-button political issues, have contributed more than $14 million to back Proposition 10. Rental companies and other opponents have poured more than $47 million into the "no" campaign.

A poll released in September by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found 36 percent of likely voters plan to vote for the measure, with 48 percent saying they'll vote no and 16 percent undecided.

Berkeley is one city that would see an immediate effect if Proposition 10 passes. Landlords in the East San Francisco Bay Area city used to be limited in what they could charge new renters to prevent price spikes when one tenant moved out and another came in.

But state lawmakers outlawed that practice, known as "vacancy control," with the 1995 law. It would be reinstated in Berkeley if Proposition 10 passes.

Other cities are already discussing proposals to enact or expand rent control.

In Oakland, rent control only applies to buildings constructed before 1983.

Supporters of rent control say it's one tool to help alleviate the state's housing crisis. They're taking the issue directly to voters after legislative efforts to allow more rent control failed.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office says Proposition 10 will lower the value of rental properties.

Proposition 10 opponents also argue it would drive small landlords out of business. They also argue regulations on construction and providing more money for affordable housing are better steps the state could take to alleviate the housing crisis.

Two other measures on the ballot are aimed at providing more money for housing. Proposition 1 would authorize $4 billion in bond funding to house low-income people, veterans and farmworkers. Proposition 2 would authorize $2 billion in bond funding to house people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The Proposition 2 bond would be repaid using money from the California millionaire's tax that provides revenue for mental health services.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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