California tenants receive rent-hike threats that will only be rescinded if rent-control initiative fails


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/19/yes-on-prop-10.html


#2

“Nice barely affordable rent ya got there. Shame if something happens to it after election day.”


#3

This fits into the broad category of government being manipulated to benefit the wealthy and corporations.


#4

Wouldn’t rent control protect against this? Maybe rent control isn’t what I thought it was.


#5

Having done my college years in Berkeley in the 90s, and having stayed in the area, prop 10 really would be a disaster. Prop 10 only recinds three provisions passed in 1995 at the state level, overriding local rent control laws:

  1. Rent control doesn’t apply to single family homes
  2. Rent control won’t apply to buildings built after 1995
  3. After tenants move out, the landlord can rase the rent for the next one.

Berkeley had none of those features beforehand. And basically it created a housing crisis: Yes, if you had a rent controlled apartment it was great, but if you didn’t, well, :man_shrugging:, you were out of luck.

Nobody built anything. And if you want affordable housing, the first thing you have to do is actually build housing.

Having experienced the full effect of Berkeley rent control, and admittedly personally benefitted from it, Costa/Hawkins (the law that added those 3 provisions) has changed Berkeley vastly for the better. People have actually built housing in the downtown corridor!

Prop 10 would be a disaster: It would basically stop anyone from ever wanting to build apartments in the places where we need apartments, since it is those places (San Francisco area, LA area) where city governments previously put in rent control in the late 70s and early 80s. And it would encourage everyone with a rental home to just sell the home, lest the risk of draconian rent control return.

Its a “been there, done that” for the state. This would be a return to bad old days.


#6

They currently don’t have rent control. Prop 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 that limits what kind of rent control cities can enact.


#7

I’m generally in favor of giving the voters the benefit of the doubt. This one, though, is convoluted enough that I have little faith that people will generally understand WTF is happening.


#8

We are in a complete catastrophic housing crisis with chronic homelessness causing typhoid epidemics on the streets of LA and massive swaths of workers living in their cars, seniors waiting for an eviction death sentence, and middle class teachers, civil servants, service workers living in constant fear of losing their housing and ending up on the streets.

Passing prop 10 will allow local municipalities to liberate their citizens from much of that suffering.

You are citing some technocratic reasons why expanding rent control might negatively affect the market for new, market rate housing construction. I am sorry but no one cares. People are suffering and prop 10 would ease it.

Until the “No on 10” crowd, YIMBYs, etc can propose a solution other than "build luxury/market rate and hope that the supply “trickles down,” they will be met with derision and scorn.


#10

What threw me is they’re being threatened with rent hikes if the rent control proposition passes. So the way I understand it, this proposition just unblocks the possibility of rent control. Cities would still have to pass the ordnances, and those would have to be retroactive to protect against retaliatory increases. Right?


#12

You are contradicting yourself here. If rent control does not apply to newer buildings, then it is not a limit to building affordable housing.

The housing crisis in many cities was created by values of homes pushed up by:

  1. Foreign money laundering/investment
  2. Deregulation of mortgage banking making it look easier to afford homes out of one’s actual ability to buy it
  3. Artificial blocks on the housing market keeping foreclosed or bank owned property from being resold
  4. Builders looking to capitalize on #1 by building cheap and fast

#14

The CURRENT law is “rent control can’t apply to post 95 construction”, prop 10 seeks to remove that restriction.


#17

So the existing law hasn’t been a hindrance to construction. The new one would be a hindrance to luxury based construction. A supremely wasteful activity to begin with and one which is contributing to the lack of inventory for those who work for a living.


#18

Rent control doesn’t, in of itself, prevent new housing from being built, but there’s all sorts of other ways to prevent new housing from being built.


#19

Heh, I live in a complex owned by a company listed in the article. A bit disappointed but there’s not that many alternatives in the Bay Area


#20

Prop 10 would be a disaster: It would basically stop anyone from ever wanting to build apartments in the places where we need apartments,

They currently aren’t building in those places anyways. Not affordable apartments.

And it would encourage everyone with a rental home to just sell the home, lest the risk of draconian rent control return

Which is what people are already doing. You are simply reiterate the status quo.

More worryingly, this is a quid pro quo for voting, and, thus, highly illegal. These companies will get their asses handed to them in court if it passes and they raise rents.


#21

I think it’s funny that editorial here focuses on the actions of remote rentiers, rather than the very real grassroots class-warfare that prevents tens of millions of dollars from being spent to house homeless people.


#25

If I physically threaten you with bodily harm should a political issue go a particular way on the ballot, wouldn’t the secretary of states office want to know about it? I’m pretty sure that’s hella illegal.

Is it any less illegal if I merely threaten to throw you out on the street, instead of breaking your legs?

This creeps me out just as much as anything the orange mobster-in-chief tweets. Organized crime is getting more and more emboldened, and theres less and less any governmental agency is willing to do to stop it.

Purely rational economic players are going to have to face the question, “is this kind of ‘security’ worth what its costing me?”…


#27

This. All these crocodile tears shed by landlords and developers about new affordable rentals that they’d never build anyhow. It’s all luxury condos and luxury rentals and luxury renos of existing unit where the household income needed to rent a shoebox starts at $150k. Unless, of course, you want to live in a dorm permanently:


#30

I don’t remember the term (preferential rent?), but when my wife and I started looking for 2br apartments in our neighborhood, we encountered an asterisk in all the lease agreements that the rent amount we were signing up for was actually below the rent-stabilized rate that the city allowed them to charge. Significantly below, to the extent that a sudden increase from the advertised “preferential” to the maximum-city-accepted rate, we would be on the street. We pushed, and eventually had it explained to us that “don’t worry, the landlord never raises the rent that dramatically, they just have that in their back pocket in case they need to get rid of someone.” Rent-control / rent-stabilized rate are not necessarily lower than what the market will actually bear…

(long story short, we’re getting really creative about space in our 1BR…)


#31

Ah, of course I get pushback. No I’m not a slumlord. I own my own house, but I was a renter for two decades: undergrad, graduate, and a decade+ beyond. It isn’t “technocratic”, its the reality that I experienced first hand.

I just got the “joys” of actually experiencing pre Costa/Hawkins.

Berkeley rental housing that is pre 95 construction (and therefore still under the bulk of Berkeley rent control) is total shit. Seriously, its shit. Rent control is great if you like slums, shitty apartments, no construction, and no availability.

And the reason the landlords are freaking out: There are winners in rent control, those people who are current renters. And those are the ones who vote locally. The losers are those who can never move in because nothing is built and yes, the landlords (who will respond by just letting their housing stock go to shit).

Prop 10 doesn’t impose rent control, but it will, and quickly, and strongly. Landlords know this, so of course they are freaking out. The benefits of rent control go strongly to existing tenants, who get to vote locally. The costs are imposed on others.

(reposting to comply with “community guidelines”)