California voters overwhelmingly support the expansion of rent control policies and a proposed ballot initiative, the Rental Affordability Act (RAA), according to a new poll commissioned by AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The poll was conducted at the end of June 2019 by A/B Consulting. It found increasing dissatisfaction with the direction of public policy in California, with 61% of likely voters saying homelessness was among their top 3 issues most concerning to Californians.
“This poll speaks for itself. Californians want, and need, real rent control,” says René Christian Moya, Director of Housing Is A Human Right, the housing advocacy division of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “While we strongly support the spirit of proposals being debated at the State Capitol, we believe that they do not go far enough to tackle the scale of the crisis. 17 million renters throughout California need our politicians to find the courage to challenge the power of Big Real Estate and to deliver real rent control now.”
Millions of middle- and working-class Californians are struggling to pay unfair, excessive rents. Yet state politicians have done little to urgently address the ongoing housing affordability crisis, which is fueling homeless crises in California cities.
In response, Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation have launched the Rental Affordability Act, aiming to place the measure on the 2020 statewide ballot. The poll revealed these key findings.
Voters Strongly Support Rent Control:
75% of voters who are likely and extremely likely to vote in next year’s General Election said they were likely to support the Rental Affordability Act. California voters overwhelmingly support rent control policies that limit how much housing rental prices can increase each year.
Nearly 60% of voters identified limiting the rate at which rental prices can increase annually as one of the ways to make housing more affordable in California—more than any other option provided in our survey. Limiting rental increases was also mentioned as one of the top 3 methods to make housing more affordable.
Deep Housing Affordability Concerns:
Over three-quarters of likely voters polled said housing affordability is a big problem in their local community, with even more respondents saying it was a pressing concern statewide.
The poll suggests that while press coverage often focuses on the effects of the crisis in the largest California cities, communities up and down the state are feeling the pressure from accelerating housing costs.
Rental Affordability Act Popular in California:
The poll found significant support for the Rental Affordability Act across the state, with notable net-support above 50% in San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. When broken down by Congressional Districts, net Support was higher than Opposition in every one of California’s 53 districts.
Poll Respondents Share Their Thoughts:
“I support the Rental Affordability Act because looking at the general trend of housing prices, they have drastically increased over the years. The average family income of these areas doesn’t accommodate for the rapid increase in housing. It would be more beneficial to the community in the end if more diverse groups could reasonably afford the housing.” — Orange County resident
“Rent prices keep increasing yet jobs in the area don’t have pay increases. I have lost many friends [and] colleagues to relocating out of state due to the high rent/cost of living.” — Solano County resident
“I support [the RAA] because it helps renters and stops large real estate agencies from price gouging and making the rental prices so unaffordable for the lower and middle class.” — Sacramento County resident