What is Prop 21? Initiative would allow cities to enact more rent control

Californians will be asked whether cities should be allowed to introduce new rent control laws when they vote on Proposition 21.
Voters rejected the expansion of rent control on residential property two years ago, but this year Proposition 21 has a powerful ally - the pandemic.

Whenever COVID-19 moratoriums on rent increases expire, advocates fear there will be a tidal wave of evictions.

Two years ago, 59% of voters rejected Michael Weinstein's Proposition 10, which would have allowed local governments to adopt rent controls on any type of housing.

Activist Weinstein, of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, is back with this year's ballot initiative, which is a kindler, gentler reform of Costa-Hawkins, a state law enacted in 1995 that put limits on municipal rent control ordinances. It prevents cities from capping rent on units built after 1995.

Proposition 21 allows local governments to establish more rent controls on residential properties over 15 years old and exempts single-family homes owned by people with no more than two properties.

Proponents say it will keep families in their homes.

Apartment owners say the measure will create a housing freeze and make the housing crisis worse by eliminating homeowner protections and providing no protection for renters.

California is one of five states that allows some kind of rent control. Voters like it, but they worry about backlash from landlords.
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